"Testing, testing, testing!!!"
This is the battlecry of government officials as we move closer to getting our nation opened and the idea of interacting with one another gets real.
Are you feeling ready and able, or do you feel trepidation about heading out again?
The trepidation expressed by our officials comes from the fact that nobody really knows what's going to happen. That's correct, nobody knows. They are creating guidelines for states based on assumptions and current data trends; however, some of the data being collected and used is facing sharp scrutiny about its validity.
Part of the guidelines for "re-opening" the states is that there must be a 14-day downward trend in reported flu-like illnesses and a 14-day downward trend in documented COVID-19 cases. This leads to some big questions about testing and reporting which I won't get into now. What you need to know is that the testing is usually reserved for symptomatic people and not asymptomatic carriers. In order to truly know where and when it's safe to interact socially and whom to quarantine you would literally need to test EVERYONE in a sterile environment and all within a narrow window of time using a highly accurate and reliable testing method. Then you'd have to effectively quarantine the positive cases to eliminate further contagion. In other words, there are some issues with testing that cannot be overcome for logistical reasons.
So, we're back to trusting the capabilities of the powerful and brilliant immune system to do what it does:
find pathogens (bacteria, virus, fungi or parasite)
create and deploy enough protein markers unique to the pathogen and the amount of exposure
mark them for elimination
render them harmless
remove the byproduct wastes
create a memory so it can readily do it all again without a big production (without major symptoms)
This, of course, is an extremely simplified version of what happens, but you get the picture.
The marking and memory parts of this scenario are primarily done by the immunoglobulins, and this is why this type of testing is coming to the forefront in the COVID-19 situation. Although there are 5 major classes of immunoglobulins made by the body, you will likely only be hearing about 2 of them, IgM and IgG. Here's why.
When the body is initially exposed to a pathogen, it begins to create the M class immunoglobulin specific to the pathogen. This may or may not coincide with patient symptoms, but in general, symptomatic patients will have greatly elevated IgM. These immunoglobulins create a target on the pathogen so other immune cells can recognize them and render them harmless. The level of exposure plays a roll in how much IgM the body creates and a lot of IgM can add to the immune challenge on the entire body. Smaller exposures generally lead to better outcomes depending on the type of pathogen.
IgM levels begin to taper off as the body handles the exposure, and are greatly diminished after about 2-3 weeks in most cases. This is when IgG is on the rise and peaking which also correlates with resolution of symptoms in many cases. IgG is extremely important because it provides the body with long-term immunity to the same pathogen (and possibly some very similar ones).
Here's a graph to help with the explanation.
The bottom line is that if a person has elevated IgM to COVID-19 he/she will need to be quarantined and treated for at least 2 weeks. If a person has low IgM and elevated IgG, he/she has already built and immunity to COVID-19 and should remain mostly unaffected by future exposure to it. If neither IgM nor IgG is detected then the person was most likely never exposed to the pathogen. We want a majority of our population to be in the elevated IgG category, so future spread is less possible.
This might cause you to question the reasoning behind the global quarantine. It is possible that the mandated quarantine of all people may be putting our population at future risk. If COVID-19 shows up again and a majority of us have not created IgG to it, we could go through all of this again. This is one of the arguments for widespread vaccinations, but there are safety issues involved with speedy production of any high force intervention. Natural immunity is still the best and despite a relatively high death rate, a much larger group is surviving with long-term immunity.
The promising and positive aspects of immunoglobulin testing in this pandemic are that it helps to differentiate between the contagious, the immune and the unexposed, it only requires a drop of blood and the results are usually back within minutes.
This seems to offer the fastest, most reliable means for reopening the country.
No matter what happens next, you need to be ready. Advantage Integrative Health can help you create a healthy terrain where pathogens cannot and will not thrive. Creating healthy thinking, eating, exercising and sleeping habits can do wonders for your health and NOW is the time to put your best self forward!