Fwd: Re: [FoRK] avian flu/home
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
>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
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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