As COVID-19 infections surge, immunity and immunity based products are finding public attraction and demand is in new high. Every media is publishing news about immunity and immunity related foods or drugs regularly because COVID-19 disease is an infectious disease and has no specific drug or vaccine so far. Immunity related products are also mushrooming everywhere.

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Here we discuss about immunity and its role in COVID-19 viral disease.

What is immunity?

Immunity may be defined as resistance exhibited by host towards injury caused by microorganisms and their products. Thymus is the primary organ and Bone marrow is the primary tissue of immune system. T-cells and B-cells are the primary cells of immune system. These cells are responsible for both non-specific and specific immunity of human body.

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Our human body produces the antibodies immediately after releasing antigens from the microbes. Such antibodies kill the microbes and recover the human body from the gravity of disease.

How much  time does it take to build immunity?

Immune response starts from the foetal life. It protects the foetus during pregnancy. Natural passive immunity passed to newborn from mother through placenta. After birth, immunoglobulins are passed to newborn through breast milk.

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The infant has to depend on itself for antibody protection from 3-6 months of age. The full competence is acquired only by 5-7 years for IgG and 10-15 years for IgA. The capacity to produce antibodies starts only with the development and differentiation of lymphoid organs.

Why is immunity needed?

Because of less vaccines and drugs for virus diseases, we have only two options. One is prevention and another is improving our own immunity. They save the human body from the diseases.

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COVID19 virus is new virus to human being. So we have no specific immunity to this disease. Either every one or more than 50% of population exposed to this antigen and get antibodies or vaccines will save the community from this fatality. No vaccines come so far in India. So our own immunity invades the virus and protects our body.

How are immune boosters helpful?

Strengthening our own immunity is the one of the ways to overcome the disease at present. Immunity is a complex mechanism and unable to understand that what exactly happens. We have been using natural ingredients to boost the immunity for long period. So AYUSH department issued guidelines to improve immunity in consultation with subject matter experts. Few examples are Kaba sura kudineer, AYUSH kwath and Arcenicum album30 etc…

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Where then is the confusion?

Immediately after government notification, there has been a huge demand for immune based products among public and many number of products are occupying the shelves in market. Popular  herbs known to have immunity building properties like Seenthil (Tonospora), Tulasi (Ocimum), Thothulai (S.trilobatum) and Nellikkai (Emblica) became famous in overnight and scarcity of supplies developed now. Manufacturers use this opportunity commercially and have unfortunately come out with colourful and misleading claims. This created a lot of confusion amongst the general  public.

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Beware of claims Traditional herbs are having immune booster activity and people have been using them for a long time. Based on long history of human use, Government  is promoting certain herbal formulations as immune booster in this health crisis. Many products in the market came with huge and misleading claims however confuse the people. So patients and general public should be aware of the genuineness of the  products and always take medicines with the consultation of qualified  physicians. People must clearly understand that immunity does not get built in one day but it can only be built through sustained intake of the prescribed medications coupled with modifications in lifestyle and diet.  Let us however keep in mind that our immunity so built plays a vital role in the successful management of COVID19 disease  or any other disease that we may come across in our times.

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