COVID-19. Should we be afraid?

The COVID pandemic, which has recently been spreading around the world, raises justified concerns among those in power about its further effects and the fear of all of us of getting seriously ill. Unfortunately, we do not have drugs to combat the development of COVID-19. A vaccine providing immunity, despite declarations that it already exists, from various centers working on it, should not be expected earlier than spring. Basically, the only procedure we can currently apply is a number of social and hygienic restrictions, including home isolation. It is also worth supporting our immunity, after all, we have an effective immuno-supplement with proven effects.

The course of COVID-19 disease can vary greatly. Some infected people have no symptoms. In others, the disease may be so severe that they require mechanical ventilation. The risk of severe COVID-19 is increased in older people, people who have co-existing diseases of the circulatory system, respiratory system, weakened immune system, significant obesity or diabetes.

COVID-19 and Respiratory Diseases

Because COVID-19 primarily attacks the respiratory system, the coexistence of respiratory diseases significantly increases the likelihood of a severe course of the disease. This risk increases significantly if the infected person has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is one of the most common chronic diseases in general, and also the most common respiratory disease. Its incidence is estimated at over 50% among people over 65 years of age. In the initial phase, the disease is hidden and it is estimated that up to ¾ of patients may not know that they have COPD, and the risk of severe COVID-19 is very high.

COVID and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity

People with chronic serious diseases are more likely to develop serious symptoms if infected with COVID-19. This applies to diabetes, severe obesity and serious cardiovascular diseases.

Obesity promotes severe COVID-19. It is estimated that obesity occurs in approximately 1/5 of the Polish population and increases with age to up to 50% of all people. It usually appears earlier and more often in men.

Obesity is one of the risk factors for the so-called cytokine storm - the most severe complication in the course of COVID-19. Adipose tissue produces a number of pro-inflammatory cytokines that are released during the cytokine storm of COVID-19.

COVID-19 in older adults

You can get sick with COVID-19 at any age, even small children are affected. The risk of developing dangerous symptoms increases with age. Eighty% of all people who died from COVID-19 were people aged 65 and over. The risk increases when advanced age is accompanied by comorbidities, which, unfortunately, is also age-related.

After the age of 60, most people have a significantly less efficient immune system, which may be reflected in its slower functioning and less effective response to virus infection. The consequence is a greater than average multiplication of the virus in the body of a sick person and the spread of inflammation to many organs, especially those that are sick and damaged as a result of a chronic comorbid disease. These phenomena, if not stopped early and effectively, can lead to severe respiratory failure and a deadly cytokine storm. That's why it's so important to take proper care of your immune system.

COVID-19 and the Immune System

The immune system is a complex, interdependent entity composed of white blood cells, antibodies, complex proteins, and many organs and systems. Some parts of the system act as literal barriers, preventing viruses and bacteria from entering organs such as the brain, while others hunt and remove invaders from the body. Although the immune system is effective against many diseases, microorganisms and viruses, it takes time to become familiar with the enemy. In many situations, it must be able to recognize the disease-causing pathogen as a threat before it is removed from the body. This is usually only possible if you develop certain antibodies after being sick or receiving a vaccine.

Many studies show that both post-vaccination immunity and post-illness immunity can and does vary from person to person. The duration of immunity and its scope vary from person to person. That is, from immunity that completely prevents re-illness to one that only alleviates the course of re-illness. This may be influenced by many factors, including: type of vaccines and boosters received. In the case of immunity after illness, the virus variant and the severity of SARS are important. The more severe the course, the higher the titer of antibodies produced and the longer their level persists. The health and condition of the immune system play an important role in the effectiveness and duration of immunity, whether post-vaccination or post-infectious. Therefore, it is worth taking care of a healthy and efficient immune system.

Immulina is a modern immunosupplement that effectively boosts our immune system. It provides two high-molecular immunoactive ingredients: beta-glucan from baker's yeast and a lipopolysaccharide complex from spirulina extract, which non-specifically stimulate the immune system. And as it turned out, the weaker our immune system is, the more effectively Immulina supports it. Additionally, Immulina also provides vitamins C and D and the elements zinc and selenium, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the immune system. The first effects of the beneficial impact of Immulina on the immune system are observed pretty quickly, after just a few days of its use.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Mental Health

One of the biggest global crises in generations, the COVID-19 pandemic has had severe and far-reaching repercussions for health systems, economies and societies. Countless people have died, or lost their livelihoods. Families and communities have been strained and separated. Children and young people have missed out on learning and socializing. Businesses have gone bankrupt. Millions people have fallen below the poverty line.

As people grapple with these health, social and economic impacts, mental health has been widely affected. Plenty of us became more anxious; but for some COVID-19 has sparked or amplified much more serious mental health problems. A great number of people have reported psychological distress and symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress. And there have been worrying signs of more widespread suicidal thoughts and behaviours, including among health care workers.

Higher levels of depression, anxiety, and insomnia were associated with the severity of COVID-19 infection in the acute phase, hospitalization because of COVID-19, and higher levels of post-COVID impairments and fatigue. Reduced motivation emerged as the strongest predictor for mental ill health.

Mental condition and the course of Covid-19

Poor mental condition has negative impact on course of COVID-19. People with mental health disorders could be more susceptible to the emotional responses brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic. The COVID-19 pandemic may adversely influence the mental health of patients with already diagnosed mental disorders. For the aim of dealing better with the psychological problems of people afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, new psychological procedures are required.



Variability of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus

A number of different variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been observed so far. The first was the alpha variant. Another delta variant of the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus caused more infections and spread faster and wider than earlier forms of the viruses that cause COVID-19. In unvaccinated people, the delta variant caused a more severe disease than earlier forms of the virus.

Another variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was an omicron. By September 2023, several dozen variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were observed, marked by WHO with Greek letters such as beta, gamma, delta, lambda, epsilon, zeta, eta, theta iota, kappa, etc., and several dozen of mutation lines.

WHO has updated its tracking system and working definitions for variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to better correspond to the current global variant landscape, to independently evaluate Omicron sublineages in circulation, and classify new variants more clearly when required.

SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple variants of concern (VOCs) and variants of interest (VOIs) have been designated by WHO based on their assessed potential for expansion and replacement of prior variants, for causing new waves with increased circulation, and for the need for adjustments to public health actions.

Statement on the update of WHO’s working definitions and tracking system for SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants of interest

Despite such high variability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it is worth emphasizing that:

  • Vaccination is still the best way to reduce the risk of infection with the virus, including the delta, omicron and new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Vaccinations are highly effective in preventing serious illnesses that would require hospital treatment and be life-threatening. This also applies to new variants of the virus.
  • Fully vaccinated people who are infected with new variants of the virus are sick for a shorter period of time.
  • Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in closed public places reduces the spread of new variants of the virus.

For vaccination to be optimally effective, an efficient immune system is necessary. This is especially important when poorer immune functioning can be predicted, as is the case in young children and the elderly. In such situations, it is worth reaching for Immulina, which effectively boosts the immune system.

Post-vaccination Immunity

Global News spoke to infectious disease specialist and microbiologist Dr. Donald Vinh from McGill University Health Center. The expert says that the protection obtained by taking the Pfizer vaccine may last about two months, and is obtained just 12 days after taking the first dose. A second dose of the vaccine is required to obtain full immunity after vaccination. Then its effectiveness is 95%

In turn, within two weeks of receiving the first dose of Moderna, you gain protection for three months. Here, too, a second dose of vaccination is required for full immunity, then the vaccine effectiveness is 94%. Unfortunately, it is not yet clear whether Pfizer's or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines prevent transmission of the virus to others.

A mucosal vaccine could be a COVID-19 game-changer.

With the arrival of the highly contagious XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant in Canada, some scientists say governments must invest more in developing mucosal vaccines — a tool that could be a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19.

Mucosal vaccines, which are inhaled in the nose or mouth, are widely considered by doctors and scientists to be the next generation in protecting against COVID-19 because they offer the greatest potential to prevent transmission of the virus — a feature that injected mRNA and adenovirus vaccines do not offer.

Post-illness Immunity

Immunity to the coronavirus can be obtained after contracting COVID-19. The body then comes into contact with the entire virus particle and the immune response is stimulated. This is the so-called immunity of recovered patients. However, this method of acquiring immunity carries risks. The infection may be different in each person. In most people, it causes only minor symptoms. However, in some cases it poses a threat to health and life.

A study conducted by researchers from Washington University, published in the journal Nature, indicates that cells that retain the memory of the virus remain in the bone marrow all the time to be able to produce antibodies at any time. In turn, the second study suggests that B cells - responsible for immunological memory, are still maturing and strengthening a year after infection.

One should remember that having COVID-19 does not provide 100% protection against re-infection, although, as numerous studies show, it may reduce its risk for some time. To protect yourself against reinfection with the virus, you need to take care of your immunity. People are also encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It does not completely protect against infection, but it alleviates the clinical course of the disease and significantly reduces the risk of death, thus contributing to the improvement of the health situation in the world. Delaying the decision to vaccinate means giving the virus a chance to spread uncontrollably and mutate.

Population (herd) Immunity

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that herd immunity to the coronavirus occurs when the majority of the population is immune to infection with the disease. How does such "protection" of the entire population develop? This happens in two ways. The first is to overcome the disease and develop natural immunity, and the second is to vaccinate and develop post-vaccination immunity in the majority of the population.

To stop or slow down the spread of the virus, immunity to COVID-19 is needed in 70-90% of the population. This level of immunity to the coronavirus would help protect people at risk of severe disease, including older people, infants, and people with weakened immune systems. WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan says that herd immunity to the coronavirus has most likely not been achieved yet due to limited access to vaccines in some countries and skepticism among some of the public, the vaccination process may take longer.

Until collective immunity to the coronavirus develops, it is worth continuing to take safety measures. Wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and sanitizing hands will certainly protect many people, even if some of us have already received the vaccine.

Future of COVID-19: What Comes Next?

Two years after the pandemic began, the virus that causes COVID-19 is becoming a little easier to live with, thanks to medical innovations. Vaccines, new medications, more testing options and natural immunity among those who have recovered from the disease have prompted infectious disease specialists to prepare for how COVID-19 will continue to affect our lives over the coming years.

The Best-case scenario is that between immunity conferred by infections or the vaccines, we get to herd immunity, and COVID-19 truly becomes endemic – present in the community at a stable rate over time. There is a middle scenario in which COVID-19 becomes seasonal, and we see surges in the fall and winter, or we continue to have localized outbreaks in specific areas, depending on local rates of vaccination and immunity.

Worst-case scenario would be if SARS-CoV-2 continues to mutate and somehow combines the contagiousness of the omicron variant with the virulence of the delta variant. While this is rather unlikely, there is no guarantee that it will not happen. The only thing that is certain about this pandemic is that it is very unpredictable.

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