COVID-19: New Theory Suggests That Wearing a Mask Builds Immunity

Novinite Insider » OPINIONS | October 29, 2020, Thursday // 18:15
Bulgaria: COVID-19: New Theory Suggests That Wearing a Mask Builds Immunity

In a recently published scientific article, a research team claims that masks can help build immunity, reports.

On the train, on the bus or at work: protecting our mouth and nose is now an integral part of our daily lives. Masks have been proven to protect against the coronavirus because they hold back much of the viruses we release when we talk, cough or sneeze.

However, the masks do not protect one hundred percent. Droplets containing the virus can enter our breath, despite protecting the mouth and nose. According to a new scientific theory recently presented in the New England Journal of Medicine, this seemingly frightening scenario may have a certain advantage.

Some scientists believe that a small amount of pathogens ingested by the person next to you could lead to a mild or asymptomatic infection. In such case the body's immune response is strong enough to develop immunity to the virus. Thus, masks can create a kind of live vaccine, according to the theory of Monica Gandhi and George Rutherford of the University of California, San Francisco.

The theory that a small amount of pathogens leads to a mild course of the disease and yet a strong immune response is not entirely new.

 Before the advent of the smallpox vaccine, the so-called smallpox - the first vaccine in the history of medicine. Doctors applied a small amount of secretion from the pimples of people with smallpox on the skin of healthy people. This led to a relatively mild symptoms of the disease and the building of immunity in a healthy person. However, as this treatment had no particularly predictable effects, and sometimes led to severe, often fatal development of the disease, it was eliminated with the introduction of the vaccine.

How the amount of virus pathogens in the body affects the course of COVID-19 in humans is not yet known. According to Brinkman, this is only known in animal studies. A study of hamsters shows that animals become infected to various degrees depending on the amount of viruses they are exposed to. Such a study with humans is difficult to conduct for ethical reasons.

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Tags: masks, immunity
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