The immune system is one of the most complex systems in the body and most doctors will agree that this system is not well understood by most, however, it is a system designed to protect the body against risks such as infections including this virus; the immune system learns, adapts and develops, much like some viruses.
Immunity, considering a biological context, refers to resistance to pathogens and external agents, such as infections. Tissue (eg spleen, liver, lungs, intestines, bone marrow, lymph nodes, blood and skin), cells (eg lymphocytes) and molecules (eg antibodies) mediate reactions and constitute an immune system. The coordinated response of these cells and molecules to pathogens and other substances comprises the immune response.
The immune system or response significantly affects susceptibility or resistance to infections and subsequent prognosis in terms of morbidity (degree of illness, associated complications, recovery times and outcome) and mortality, as most medical doctors would agree.
We are concerned that this important system is not considered in the risk management plans or any of the ongoing debates during this health crisis. We are not referring to herd immunity in any way or immunity in the context of vaccines; we are referring to the immune system in every human’s body that is designed for protection against external agents such as this virus.
The protective role of the immune system extends to important functions such as relating to recovery, tissue generation, scarring and a defence against tumours, however, the main physiological function is to be a defence against, to prevent or eradicate, infections. It is therefore essential that the immune system of every person is healthy, supported and protected, particularly in this context of the pandemic. Initiatives that negatively impact on the immune system, by eg causing stress or chronic anxiety, will therefore likely cause significant immediate and long term harm, as per evidence-based research.
The immune system is therefore directly related to clinical outcome for every member of the public in the context of the pandemic.
Initiatives to support the immune system, for low and high risk individuals within the public, are usually simple, although it affects clinical outcome significantly, as most medical doctors would agree. Many countries in Asia focused on these initiatives, particularly relating to normalcy, liberty and autonomy, as observed firsthand, with good clinical outcomes.
Our work with an immunologist on paediatric and neurology wards inspired us to remember the reciprocal interaction between the immune system, the brain and the body; it is one of the most effective tools we have to protect against biological risks and disease. Most doctors will agree that the brain and body are given powerful messages by context, physical surroundings, social environment, behaviour, thoughts and feelings, and this affects general health and mental health significantly.
Simple protective initiatives often have a significant impact on clinical general health and mental health outcome for high and low risk children and communities.
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