By Nick Morrison
There has been an unprecedented response from the global Scientific community researching into Covid 19. Over 1000 articles have been published, most in the “free” to use category. Chinese scientists published the RNA (ribose nucleic acid) sequence of the virus on January 10. This came after the Chinese security services spent over a month trying to cover it up! This has enabled scientists including Scots ones to build a potential RNA vaccine within a week or so. There are 2 or 3 front runners going through testing. Redundancy is good here as testing may rule out some candidates.
RNA based vaccines have a distinct advantage over conventional ones. Conventionally vaccines have to be grown “in vitrio” which is a slow process, RNA ones can be made quickly synthetically. Research has shown that as little as 1 microgram injected into a patient will cause the patients muscles to manufacture antibodies to the virus. The German firm of “Curevac” says it could make 10 million doses by summer and scale up is possible according to Ingmar Hoer CEO and Cofouder of Curevac.
In China 86% of cases had no or very little symptoms, unfortunately they are still infectious. In the Italian town of Vo where the entire town was tested 60% of positive cases had no symptoms. In China of those who developed symptoms severe enough to be hospitalised 1.4% died.
Who are hospitalised in the first place is governed by two main things apart from preexisting medical problems. Your age, over 70’s are at risk here (I tick that box), And the recently discovered parameter of your immunological age which can now be measured, which can easily be 20 years different in either direction to your actual age. Your immunological age is affected by your past and current lifestyle. Walkers and cyclists do well here, smokers and sedentary folk no so well.
Another wee bit ‘O’ good news is that we can decrease our immunological age, here is how. In animal studies the most successful strategy is reduction in calorific intake in improving longevity and health in later life. Many of us could afford to shed a few pounds (msel included!) Dieting is a pain and not for everyone. The bodies enzymes can be fooled by restricting calorific intake to 8 hours a day with nothing for the other 16. Further we need to make sure we get enough of vitamins E and D. Previous studies have shown that Orcadian Vit D levels were quite good, possibly with our more benign climate we are more outdoorsy than mainland Scotland so our skin exposure to sunlight generates enough. We need 10 microgrames of Vit D a day some common dietary sources are oily fish like mackerel, sardines , salmon, trout, tuna, beeh liver , cheese, eggs.
Vitamin E , Males need 4 mg a day and females 3 mg/day (NHS) common dietary sources are nuts , nut and seed oils, salmon, trout , broccoli.
A note of caution here there are as yet unconfirmed reports Harvard University is one such, that too much of these may be harmful. Given a good balanced diet there is no normal reason to take supplements of Vits D and E . Probiotics also have an immune boosting effect.
Lastly, regular exercise helps the immune system See my earlier comment about walkers and cyclists. Under lockdown we are allowed one “outing” from the house a day, make it count! Up to 10,000 steps a day is beneficial, over that seems to have no effect.
I have no idea how number of steps relates to distance can any reader help with this please?
Acknowledgements Chemistry World , New Scientist