Some people are too quick to pick up an infection, if you are in this category or you have someone who is, then you should read this post on immune system functions.
Your body is designed by God the creator to protect and heal itself by the immune system functions.
Whether, you will be down with a disease or some kind of virus, is dependent to a large extent how much attention you give to your immune system- the system in your body that fights and defeats viruses, bacteria etc that may want to hurt you.
In this post, you shall find answers to some of your questions such as;
The immune system is a team of powerful cells in your body that work together to fight any foreign material (virus, bacteria, fungi, plasmodium etc) that may try to invade and harm you.
The different parts of teams of the immune systems are;
- The first line of defense– your skin and the your mucous membrane(guts and respiratory passages)
- The second line of defense– This is made up of another set of defense cells. The most powerful soldier here is called Macrophage. Macro means big while phage means eat. Therefore, this guy is popularly called a “big eater”. You will read more about how they eat up viruses that want to threaten you, later in this post.
- The third line of defense: This is made up of the cells called the B cells (beta cells) and the killer cells. The beta cells produce other cells called antibodies. These antibodies help the macrophages to eat up the enemies that come to attack you.
Not only this, we shouldn’t forget the killer cells. They kill the enemies of your body. You will read more about how they kill invaders as you read on .
Before then, let’s visit Mr virus- the dreaded but weak enemy of human. You will see how weak a virus cell is, very soon and I will show you its weak point. This will help you defeat him. Let’s move on.
What is a virus?
A virus is an infectious non-living parasitic agent comprising either RNA or DNA materials which can only harm you the moment it gains entrance into your body. Viruses exist in two phases namely; an inanimate (non-living) phase called a virion and a multiplying phase in an infected cell.
This means that a virus is a harmless substance called virion when sitting on a surface but becomes a threat to your health the moment it is able to make its way into your body.
How a virus looks like
A virus has RNA or DNA material covered with a protein material. All viruses contain protein and nucleic acid with at least 50%, and in some cases up to 90% of their mass being protein.
A virus is like a gun that wouldn’t do any harm to you until a bullet is released. The gun is the protein coat while the bullets in it are either the RNA or a DNA. It is important to note here that, it is the outermost protein coat that allows the virus to recognize the correct host cell (human, plant or animals) and gain entry into it.
Think about this
Let’s reason together for a moment. If the protein coat makes the virus attach itself to your body, we can say that, if you successfully destroy the protein coat, the virus cell will not be able to attach itself to you. Isn’t that reasonable? This will lead us to the weak point of a virus and a little into why you are asked to wash your hand often and use hand sanitizers.
The weakest point of a virus
If you want to defeat an enemy, you have got to find its weakest point.
In the light of this, it is important that I expose to you that the RNA or the DNA are the weakest points of any virus. That is the reason they are securely kept and heavily protected by the protein coat.
Notice that these viral nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) must be shielded from harsh environmental conditions otherwise, they will die off. This is the reason they are kept and protected by the protein coat.
How do you kill the virus?
Therefore, to successfully attack and destroy a virus before it ever enters our body, we need to reach the RNA or the DNA and destroy them.
Are you thinking what I am thinking? If a harm to the protein coat of a virus can harm the virus, it simply means I can destroy a virus lying on a table, a fabric or my skin by using a chemical or substance strong enough to wear off the protein coat and consequently destroy the RNA or the DNA.
This is the reason you are asked to use hand sanitizers, soap, alcohol to cleanse your hands , surfaces, cloths and other materials. Furthermore, this connotes that a simple hygiene practice is enough to destroy the protein coat of a virus cell and render it incapable of harming you.
Your skin as a defensive part of the immune system
Viral infection is initiated by a collision between the virus particle and the cell. Higher concentration of virus particles increases the probability of infection.
If your skin or body is quite promiscuous, that is,it has a lot of receptive sites for the binding of the virus, then your chances of being infected by a virus is very high. On the other hand, if it is quite selective, that it does not have receptors for the virus, the virus will not bind and your chances of contracting the virus becomes very slim.
Therefore, your cells or body must permit and receive a virus for you to be infected. If your body rejects it, then you don’t stand the risk of contracting the particular virus.
How virus attacks the immune system- a step by step approach
The infectious cycle of a virus comprises the following processes or stages;
- Attachment of the virus to the cells. The moment you have contact with a virus. It carefully looks around your skin or mucous membrane for a place to bind. The point here is, a virus must first of all find a receptor that it can bind to on your skin. If your skin permits it, it binds successfully, if not, perhaps your skin is sanitized, it lies dormant there and eventually dies off.
- Entry of the virus particles : If a virus binds successfully and overpowers your first line of defense which are your skin and the mucous membranes. It makes its way into your body but if your first line of defense overpowers it, it dies off without entering your body.
It is important to note here that a healthy skin stands a good chance to offer a strong fight and resistance to viral attack. An over-toned or bleached skin may be quite unhealthy to offer the same.
3. Uncoating:The moment the virion gets into one’s cells the un-coating occurs- this is the removal of the protein coat making the virus naked and exposing the RNA or the DNA as the case may be. The RNA and the DNAs are then released into the body.
4.Transcription and replication. After the release of the RNAs and the DNAs. In the case of a DNA virus, the DNA is transcribed to a mRNA. But in the case of RNA virus, mRNA is produced. The mRNAs thereafter, produce a new protein coat for the RNA or the DNA to form multiples of copies of viruses.
The virus at this point replicates itself in a multiple way and is encapsulated in the cells. At this point the cells are infected but contained in a capsule. It is sure waiting for an opportunity to burst and infect neighboring cells.
Notice this, the virus gets all it needs to infect and possibly kill the victims from the same victims. It is just like the case of a robber who robs a victim with the victims weapon and as well kills the victims with the same weapon. Too bad.
5.Burst release. After the production of numerous virus cells. The cell bursts and releases the newly formed virus to infect more cells and the cycle continues. This looks scary, right ? Don’t be scared the virus doesn’t always have it, this easy. Your body is perfectly equipped to defeat every move of the virus.
There are lines of defense, well established in your body to defeat this. The truth is that many , even you reading this post , might have someway had a contact with coronavirus with no effect on your body whatsoever.
This is because you have a very strong lines of defense. For further understanding of the immune system functions and how to help your body defeat viruses. Let’s check out your lines of defense;
The lines of defense of the immune system
Just as I mentioned earlier, you have very strong lines of defense. They are;
- 1.Physical barriers– This is your first line of defense.They are your skin and the mucous membrane. However, whether a cell is permissive for the reproduction of a particular virus depends on other intracellular components found only in certain cell types.Thus, cells must be both susceptible and permissive if an infection is to be successful.
2. Innate or inborn immune system. This is the second line of defense in your body.It is an inborn immune system. Any invader that breaches the physical barrier of skin or mucosa is greeted by the innate immune system – your second line of defense.
The most famous innate immune system player is called a macrophage. If for instance the coronavirus escapes the first line of defense it has got the macrophage to battle with. Other second line of defense are complement proteins that can punch holes in bacteria, and the natural killer cells (NK).
How macrophage works in the immune system
Don’t panic, if the bad guys (viruses) beat the first line of defense, they have got the second line of defense to contend with. They had better put on their best fighting skills because this time, they are meeting with the big eater- the macrophage.
Macro means big while phage means to eat. Macrophages are therefore popularly called big eaters. They eat up viruses and bacteria and others.. The most interesting thing about them is that they are not always defensive but offensive.
The moment they notice that a virus or other foreign agent has defeated the first line of defense. They attack and engulf the virus, bacterial or any agent as the case may be by a process known as phagocytosis. They practically eat them up.
3 .Adaptive immune system
This is the third level of defense. This is a defense system which actually can adapt to protect us against almost any invader. They are; the B cells, killer T cells aka cytotoxic lymphocytes or CTLs, the helper T cells and the regulatory T cells. If the virus defeats the macrophages, it has got the B cells to contend with.
i.The B cells
The B cells- the beta cells, swift into action, the moment the virus beats up the macrophages. The B cells (millions of them) quickly deplore millions of fighters called antibodies to embattle the invading viruses. If again the viruses win the battle. Don’t worry all hope is not lost. The killer cells will have to come in.
ii.The killer T cells
There are actually three main types of T cells; killer T cells (frequently called cytotoxic lymphocytes or CTLs), helper T cells, and regulatory T cells. If the virus escapes the clutches of the antibodies. The killer T cells come in to solve the problems created by the flaws of the antibodies.
The killer T cell is a potent weapon that can destroy virus‐infected cells. The killer T cells make contact with the virus infected cells and triggers them to commit suicide This “assisted suicide” is a great way to deal with viruses that have infected cells – because when a virus infected cell dies, the viruses within the cell die also.
Does a virus find it hard to defeat your immune system?
With these lines of defense, it is pertinent to mention here that you are not an easy prey to any virus. Not even coronavirus as infectious as it is. You can’t suddenly be down with a virus or any other infection, a battle you weren’t aware of must have been going on within your body.
Well, people say a sudden attack but you will agree with me that you must have left your lines of defense helpless over a long time. As a result, they become so weak to fight any further and the result is a disease condition.
Is coronavirus weaker than your immune system functions?
If you take a few letters from pandemic you have panic.Coronavirus pandemic is our reality as I write this post. However, with a good understand of immune system functions and how to help your body defeat viruses plus a good understanding of the mode of operation of this weak, inanimate, and foe of yours. You will never panic.
Note this, Panic kills more and quicker than the dreaded virus coronavirus.
Coronavirus mode of attack is not far different from other viruses such as HIV, herpes, smallpox, chickenpox ebola etc. They have similar mechanisms of attacking the human cells. However, if they successfully make their ways into human cells, they infect the cells and the infected cells infect further cells and so on until they either kill or live with the victim for life.
Your immune system is too strong be infected by corona virus.
The truth is, a coronavirus will not infect everybody or every cell it encounters. What it does is to first check you out. If you are receptive and permissible, you will become its successful host. What determines whether you will be a victim or not is the integrity of your lines of defense.
I explained above and a perfect understanding of immune system functions and how to help your body defeat viruses.
You will agree with me that, with this line of defense, no coronavirus should be able to defeat you.
Have you been unfair to your immune system functions?
But, most times we have been quite unfair to our lines of defense. we starve them, we fail to provide their required weapons of warfare and we pay them little or no attention.
As a result of this they become very weak and are unable to defeat the enemies. Therefore, if you really want to remain unaffected by coronavirus, you need to pay your dues – Take care of the fighters.
How a virus manages to defeat the immune system.
Therefore,your body is super ready to heal itself and kill any foreign body that tries to threaten its wellbeing. However, coronavirus and his siblings still manage to make their ways through the lines of defense and cause diseases. How is this possible?
There are many reasons this happens. One of the reasons is a weak immune system. This weakness is mostly caused by our poor lifestyles.
Causes of weak immune system
- Insufficient rest
- Poor feeding habit
- Smoking of cigarette, marijuana etc
- Excessive intake of alcohol
- Depression, anger, hatred, anxiety, worry etc
How to boost your immune system
With the understanding of the immune system functions and how to help your body defeat virus.
It is important that you keep healthy, by following these basic health tips that can help your immune system fight and defeat diseases.
- Take food rich in zinc e.g oysters, liver, cheese etc
- Consume food rich in selenium e.g fish, brazil nuts, bananas, cashews etc
- Eat foods rich in vitamin A, C and D e.g carrots, oranges, fish etc
- Eat food rich in iron e.g spinach, pumpkin seeds, liver etc
- Never ever stay worried about a thing, not even coronavirus
- Run away from stress. It kills faster than coronavirus.
- Eat good food such as fruits, vegetables, yams, meat, potatoes, eggs, etc Do less refined and fast foods.
- Improve your intake of clean water.
- Quickly forgive others and let go of hurts
- Always have sufficient sleep. Go to bed early and have a long night sleep.
- You can take food supplements and vitamins.
- Keep clean, and wash your hands as often as possible.