A new theory asks: Can a mask be a crude ‘vaccine’?

A new theory asks: Can a mask be a crude 'vaccine'?

As a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine awaits the arrival of a team of researchers. Has come up with a new theory: that can help some people get a raw vaccine against the mask virus.

Absent thoughts, described In a comment Published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday, inspired by the age-old concept of vulvitis, the deliberate exposure of a bacterium to produce an immune response. Attempted against smallpox first, the dangerous practice eventually fell out of favor, but paved the way for the emergence of modern vaccines.

Masked exposure is not a substitute for unnecessary injections. But data from animals infected with coronavirus, as well as insights from other diseases, suggest that masks reduce the risk of getting sick by reducing the number of viruses that enter the airways. Can. And if a few germs still move, the researchers say, they could stimulate the body to produce immune cells that can remember the virus and stick around to fight it again.

“You may have the virus, but there are indicators,” said a contagious disease doctor at the University of California, San Francisco and one of the authors of Momento. “So if you can mockly increase the rates of asymptomatic infections, it might become a way to isolate the population.”

This does not mean that people should not intentionally donate a mask to inject themselves with the virus. Dr. “This is not a recommendation at all,” Gandhi said. “Neither are Pax parties,” he said, referring to social gatherings that bring together the healthy and the sick.

The theory cannot be proven directly without clinical trials that compare the results of those compared to those exposed to coronaviruses – which is an unethical experimental setup. And when outside experts were curious about the theory, they were reluctant to accept it without more data, and advised careful interpretation.

“It looks like a leap,” said Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease epidemiologist living in Arizona. “We don’t have much to support.”

Taken incorrectly, this idea can turn masks into a false sense of well-being, potentially putting them at greater risk than ever before, or perhaps even perpetuate the misconception that facial ings can cause cornviruses. Are completely useless, because they can not present the wearer. Merger of infections.

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Dr. “We still want people to follow all other prevention policies,” Popescu said. This means being wary of crowds, physical distances, and hand hygiene – behaviors that affect their behavior but can’t replace each other.

The coronavirus virulence theory is based on two hypotheses that are difficult to prove: Low doses of the virus cause less serious illness, And that mild or asymptomatic infections can provide long-term protection from complications that may occur later in the disease. While other pathogens provide some examples for both concepts, the evidence for coronavirus remains scanty, in part because scientists have only had the opportunity to study the virus for a few months.

Experiments with hamsters have suggested a link between diet and disease. Earlier this year, a team of researchers in China found that hamsters behind a barrier made with a surgical mask were less likely to be infected with the coronavirus. And those who became infected with the virus Became less ill Animals other than masks

Some observations in humans also support this trend. In crowded settings where masks are widely used, Infection rates seem to be declining. And while facial inks may not be able to prevent all of the virus from entering the body, they do seem to be less susceptible to disease. Researchers have uncovered a large-scale silent, asymptomatic outbreak From cruise ships to food processing plants, All mostly filled with masked people.

The symptomatic diet is collected for other germs that invade the human airway. Including influenza viruses and bacteria that cause TB.

But despite decades of research, air transmission mechanics remain largely “a black box,” said Jyoti Rangrajan, an immunization and infectious disease specialist at Emory University, who was not included in the comment. .

This is partly because it is difficult to reduce the infectious dose needed to make a person sick. Although researchers eventually settle the dose on a regular dose, the results vary from person to person, as genetics, a person’s immune status, and all of their nasal passages can all influence how much virus is inhaled. Drains can make colonies.

And the confirmation of the second half of the transformation theory – that masks allow only enough viruses to enter the immune system – may be even more so. However Several recent studies The possibility that mild cases of Covid-19 may cause a strong immune response to the coronavirus may not be possible until researchers collect infection data for months or years after they have been resolved. .

Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, who was not involved in the comment, said there were some features to the theory. “But I’m still very skeptical.”

That said, it’s important to remember that vaccines are less dangerous on their own than actual infections, so practices like controversy (sometimes called inoculation) eventually matured. Before the injection, doctors rub the smallpox scabs or goosebumps into the skin of healthy people. The resulting infections were usually less severe than smallpox cases, but “people definitely became smallpox and died from the controversy,” he said. Rasmussen said. And controversy, unlike vaccines, can make people contagious to others.

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Dr. Acknowledging these limitations, Gandhi said that doctrine should not be understood as anything other than doctrine. Still, he said, “While we’re waiting for the vaccine, why not increase the chances of getting sick and having some immunity?”

Cory Weinberg

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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