VIRAL DOSE AND IT'S IMPACT ON COVID-19 FATALITIES
Written By: Tony Stiglitz
In early April 2020, Malawi recorded it's first case of Covid-19.
Since then, the public health authorities have cautioned the need for all of us to be very careful or risk contracting the Corona virus. Social distancing, hand washing, use of alcohol based sanitizers, and sneeze handling are just a few of the public health policy guidelines that have been provided on how people can ensure a reasonable level of protection from an infection that has brought devastation to life on a scale not recently seen.
But there is another very important aspect that is not being explicitly communicated, something we all need to be aware of, a proposition with the capacity to lower Corona virus related deaths in record amounts if we keep it in mind. What is this magic wand this dude is talking about, you are wondering. The answer which you are looking for is viral dose.
Viral dose,in layman's terms, refers to the quantity of viruses in the body.
According to a recent New York Times article by Princeton Professor Rabinowitz and Research Fellow Bartman, most of the time, the lesser the viral dose the better the chances that a person will recover from an infection.The reason for this phenomenon is that when viruses enter the body, a race will emerge between the spread of the viruses and the activation of the immune system. Recovery will depend on the winner of this race.
When the human body's immunity system is overwhelmed with a higher load of viruses than the immunity system can handle quick enough, the risk of death increases.
KEEPING THE VIRAL DOSE IN MIND
It's critically important that we must all be made aware that not all exposures are the same.
That is because viruses are known to be more dangerous when they are in large quantities. It's based on this reasoning that for Malawi to dodge the bullet remarkably, the issue regarding the need to avoid high dose infection, so that people keep this in mind in all their daily interactions on top of all other advisory, must become part of Covid-19 communications.
People must know that while small doses can have a mild impact,large doses can be lethal.
It must be made explicitly clear that not all exposures are the same and that chances of surviving are high if one can exercise more increased isolation to avoid increased exposure in the instance that you were maybe at some point exposed. And with increased isolation comes increased opportunity to avoid spreading the virus.
It goes without saying that we are more prone to contracting the Corona virus, and increasing our viral dose, from those with whom we tend to have close and frequent interactions(office mates, dinner and TV time at home, etc); those close once-off interactions that take longer - a case in point being public transport etc., and so that is where we might want to start.
As per Rabinowitz and Bartman in New York Times have put it,medical experts are well aware about the impact that having a large quantity of viruses does to the human body even though this is being overlooked.
It is vital that public health officials find a way to incorporate the issue of viral dose impact awareness as they continue to shape the Covid-19 conversation .
You can read the full article by Rabinowitz and Bartman at the New York Times here :