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COVID-19 Studies Should Also Focus On Mucosal Immunity, Researchers Argue

According to researchers, studies focusing on mucosal immunity can make it possible to develop a type of vaccine, such as a nasal vaccine, that could be easier to store, transport and administer

COVID-19 Studies Should Also Focus On Mucosal Immunity, Researchers Argue
Highlights
  • Mucosal immune system is the immune system's largest component: Experts
  • The rate of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 is high: CDC
  • Many of those who develop symptoms suffer mild- moderate disease: Experts

Washington: University at Buffalo researchers argue in a new paper, more COVID-19 studies should be devoted to how immunity emerges to SARS-CoV-2 in the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. The paper was published in Frontiers in Immunology. Noting that the mucosal immune system is the immune system’s largest component, the researchers expressed concern that it has not been a focus of much of the research on COVID-19 to date.

Also Read: Centre Has Plan To Vaccinate Around 30 Crore People For COVID-19 By July-August: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

“We think it is a serious omission to ignore the mucosal immune response to SARS-CoV-2, given its initial sites of infection,” said Michael W. Russell, PhD, emeritus professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, and senior author on the paper.

Clearly the response of the systemic immunoglobulin G antibody [the most abundant circulating antibody] is important — we do not deny that — but on its own it is insufficient, added Mr. Russell.

Mr. Russell noted that naturally, the initial focus of research on the disease was on cases of severe disease when the virus descends into the lower respiratory tract, especially the lungs, where the cellular immune responses exacerbate the inflammation rather than fight the infection.

But since the upper respiratory tract, including the nose, tonsils and adenoids are the initial point of infection for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the immune responses that are triggered there are of special interest.

In addition, the high rate of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated at more than 50 per cent, is another reason why mucosal immunity is so important, according to the authors.

Also Read: PM Modi Appreciates Scientists’ Efforts To Come Out With Vaccine Solution To Combat COVID-19

Given that many infected people remain asymptomatic, and that a large number of those who develop symptoms suffer only mild to moderate disease, this suggests that something, somewhere, does a fairly good job of controlling the virus, said Mr. Russell.

“Could it be that this is due to early mucosal immune responses that succeed in containing and eliminating the infection before it becomes serious? We will not know unless these questions are addressed,” he added.

The paper recommends that studies are needed to determine the nature of mucosal secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) antibody responses over the course of infection, including asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic infection, and mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 disease.

In addition, the authors point out that the mucosal immune responses may vary depending on different age groups and populations.

A focus on mucosal immunity might also make it possible to develop a type of vaccine, such as a nasal vaccine, that could be easier to store, transport and administer. Several such vaccines are now under development for COVID-19.
Mr. Russell added that these vaccines might not have special temperature requirements and might be more palatable for large swaths of the population, especially children, because they would not require an injection.

Potential Advantages Of A Mucosal Vaccine

“The potential advantage of a mucosal vaccine – especially one that is intranasal – is that it should induce immune responses, including SIgA antibodies, in the mucosal tracts, in this case especially the upper respiratory tract, where the coronavirus makes first contact,” said Russell, adding that injected vaccines usually do not do this.

As mucosal immunologists with several decades of experience behind us, we have been perturbed at the lack of attention to this, and we hope to draw attention to this glaring omission. After all, the mucosal immune system is by far the largest component of the entire immune system, and it has evolved to protect the mucosal surfaces where the great majority of infections arise, said Mr. Russell.

Also Read: Rapid Testing Can Eliminate Spread Of COVID-19 Within Weeks, Says A Study

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,50,12,529Cases
20,64,25,824Active
3,36,14,434Recovered
49,72,271Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,50,12,529 and 49,72,271 have died; 20,64,25,824 are active cases and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 4:00 am.

India

3,42,31,809 16,156Cases
1,60,9891,672Active
3,36,14,434 17,095Recovered
4,56,386 733Deaths
In India, there are 3,42,31,809 confirmed cases including 4,56,386 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,60,989 and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,06,536 1,485

23,096 3,500

64,43,342 4,947

1,40,098 38

Kerala

49,38,603 9,445

77,158 2,100

48,31,468 6,723

29,977 622

Karnataka

29,86,835 282

8,459 80

29,40,339 349

38,037 13

Tamil Nadu

26,98,493 1,075

12,288 252

26,50,145 1,315

36,060 12

Andhra Pradesh

20,64,854 567

4,777 122

20,45,713 437

14,364 8

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,114 13

100 6

16,87,115 7

22,899

West Bengal

15,89,042 976

7,973 124

15,61,973 837

19,096 15

Delhi

14,39,709 38

348 25

14,14,270 13

25,091

Odisha

10,39,818 549

4,392 213

10,27,108 334

8,318 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,926 28

263 14

9,92,088 12

13,575 2

Rajasthan

9,54,411 4

20 0

9,45,437 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,481 17

173 2

8,16,220 15

10,088

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,804 20

108 9

7,82,172 10

10,524 1

Haryana

7,71,204 15

133 5

7,61,022 10

10,049

Bihar

7,26,073 5

41 1

7,16,371 4

9,661

Telangana

6,70,829 186

4,164 63

6,62,714 122

3,951 1

Assam

6,09,506 244

3,838 153

5,99,681 391

5,987 6

Punjab

6,02,289 38

246 20

5,85,487 16

16,556 2

Jharkhand

3,48,705 28

160 30

3,43,408 56

5,137 2

Uttarakhand

3,43,861 17

150 6

3,36,312 23

7,399

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,865 70

838 16

3,26,596 86

4,431

Himachal Pradesh

2,23,406 261

1,972 211

2,17,693 48

3,741 2

Goa

1,77,969 23

454 29

1,74,152 51

3,363 1

Puducherry

1,27,846 40

443 10

1,25,546 50

1,857

Manipur

1,23,473 70

844 29

1,20,712 97

1,917 2

Mizoram

1,19,496 547

7,320 446

1,11,752 991

424 2

Tripura

84,438 15

123 1

83,499 14

816

Meghalaya

83,466 51

507 22

81,511 71

1,448 2

Chandigarh

65,331 5

29 2

64,482 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,120 6

115 22

54,725 28

280

Sikkim

31,925 13

177 1

31,353 12

395

Nagaland

31,759 12

222 3

30,856 15

681

Ladakh

20,925 8

47 6

20,670 2

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,682 1

6 0

10,672 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,650 2

5 1

7,516 1

129

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