Antibodies: Nature’s greatest gift

They are like 'magic bullets fired from a gun' that attack microbes posing a threat to the body


Obaid Ali April 20, 2020
The production of antibodies has its own biological clock and it is difficult to accelerate its production or reduce the time of production. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

The ability to make antibodies is one of the greatest blessings that God has given to human beings and animals. The development of a particular type of antibody against any specific infection or cell mutation tells us about the maintenance and mitigation strategies of any being during its life cycle. These specific antibodies recognise specific enemy (whether a virus or bacteria) and act like 'magic bullets fired from a gun' attacking microbes before they can enter the battlefield.

As a subject, biology tells us about the power of the Creator reflected in the body equipped with an automatic system by default for its calibration and updates. The ability to adapt and to learn to survive in challenging environments is also a testament to the body’s ability to handle extreme situations.

The human body’s defense mechanism provides protection (immunity) against unfavourable conditions. For instance, when the temperature of surroundings is high, then perspiration maintains the body temperature. The human body shivers to purposely manage the influence of surrounding cold environment. The body experiences nausea and often induces vomit upon recognition of a poisonous substance inside the body, while another reaction is diarrhoea.

If there is a cut on the skin, the body starts healing by default with the skin regeneration and rejuvenation mechanism going into action. In the same way, our eyes and nose begin to secrete upon exposure to unwanted viable or non-viable particles. Coughing and sneezing assist the cleaning of the passage responsible for the supply of oxygen.

Upon experiencing stimulus that is harmful to the body, the biochemical mechanism starts inflammation by secretion of amino acids that control and attempt to control the unwanted effects without medical intervention. You may notice minor inflammation on your skin back after an insect bite but it would be back to normal, even though it may require medical intervention and has the potential to become lethal in some cases. All these mechanisms are part of the body’s integrated defensive system that may vary from individual to individual.

No evidence antibody tests can show coronavirus immunity, warns WHO

Immunity does not discriminate significantly between the rich and the poor and among different social classes. The absence or hyperactivity or unnecessary stimulation of defensive mechanism are rare and always creates complications in particular cases. An allergic reaction leading to death is an example to understand the hyperactivity of our body’s defense mechanism. Immunoglobulins are protein molecules particularly glyco-proteins present in the serum produced by white blood cells. It has the ability to recognize the enemy (virus or bacteria in an infection) as well as to bind with it tightly until its destruction. Hence, the term ‘antibody’ for them. For the body to create antibodies against a particular virus or bacteria, it is necessary for the individual to get infected first.

The production process of antibodies follows its own biological clock and it is difficult to accelerate production or reduce the time of production. Asymptomatic infections produce antibody silently in so many cases and science has termed it as immunity obtained during sub-clinical infection.

One obvious solution to accelerate the process of production of antibodies is to introduce the body to an element that it recognises as an enemy: introducing the antigens of a particular pathogen thus activating the immune system and without causing any disease. The world knows it as vaccination.

Vaccines do nothing but deceive and trigger the body’s mechanism for the development of defense against a particular infection. In this way, the advances made in science and by humans influence the micro design of God. The untiring efforts of science always result in breakthroughs that have a telling impact on how we live our lives.

Another such breakthrough is the transfer of antibodies are produced in one human body to another as a preventive and therapeutic agent but its lifespan in the receiver’s body varies: some are lifelong while others are not. To find out whether this passive immunity will work against Covid-19 cannot be concluded on hypothetical ground, but requires real time data that may take years to generate. However, using historical data from other infections may be used to calculate risk as the wait for the data can take too long. Furthermore, the perception that many people cannot develop antibodies is absolutely incorrect and seems a willful attempt to misguide the helpless public. It is imperative to use real world knowledge to move forward.

We are already the victims of immature and unscientific analysis. For the sake of clarification, here is some data to help us interpret on the basis of verifiable assumption. The death rate of 11.2% that is being reported in the Netherlands is absolutely incorrect and one may calculate the real value, i.e. 0.6 per cent, on the basis of cross validating data.

A study of 10,000 Dutch blood donors was conducted, where the sample was examined for antibodies against Covid-19. Interestingly, 3% were found to have developed antibodies. The amount of data is big enough to conclude that half a million people of the country’s 17.3 million population have been Covid-19 positive. However, the country’s case counter shows 30,619 cases with 3,459 deaths (11.2%).

The detection of antibodies among those taking part in the study leads on to postulate that the number of positive cases of the novel coronavirus is 15 times the actual number, with the majority remaining asymptomatic and developing antibodies.

Thus, the death rate comes down from 11.2 per cent to 0.6 per cent, and it is expected that it will decrease even further because antibodies are detectable after about 10 days of viral exposure. It is reasonable to say that the death rate is somewhere around 0.3% throughout Europe and the same will be the case in the US.

Dr Obaid Ali is a pharmacist with 25 years of experience. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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