Fwd: Re: [FoRK] avian flu/home grown/PastFutureTense/retraction

Kevin Elliott k-elliott
Fri Oct 14 11:22:57 PDT 2005

At 23:42 -0400  on  10/13/05, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>To answer the immunity comment: I was referring to "natural 
>immunity", i.e. the capability >of someone to A) avoid noticable 
>infection and/or B) to survive infection either because
>their immune system reacts quickly enough or they just don't have 
>the protein structure for
>a particular virus to bind to.  Those kinds of immunity ARE 
>inherited, with lots of random
>exchanges and "mutations", and are said to be the whole point of 
>dual-sex reproduction.
>The presence of particular antibodies is not passed on (except some 
>mother->child), but the >ability to make those antibodies to a 
>particular response definitely is inheritable most of >time.

I think what's missing from your analysis is the very complicated 
issue of exactly how a given person at the time developed 

Were they exposed to the "full strength" variant or a weaker mutation 
that their body fought off and in the process developed antibodies 
that were also effect against the full strength variant?

Did they ever have the disease at all or did the merely avoid exposure?

Even if they survived the full strength virus was this because of a 
superior immune system or simply because their immune system tripped 
over an effective antibody earlier than "normal"?

My impressions is that for most viral infections the body is CAPABLE 
of synthesizing effective antibodies.  The issue of survival comes 
down to a race between the bodies ability to adapt and the viruses 
ability to mutate and/or kill the host.  I actually think this bodes 
well for the first world in the case of a catastrophic avian flu 
epidemic- at the turn of the century 1st and 3rd world medicine were 
much closer to each other than they are today.  With the life support 
mechanism available today, I would think we'd be much more capable of 
sustaining life long enough for the bodies natural antibodies to win 
the battle.
Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in mud.
After a while, you realize the pig is enjoying it.
Kevin Elliott   <mailto:kelliott at mac.com>
AIM/iChatAV: kelliott at mac.com  (video chat available)

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