The term ‘viral mutation’ is often referred to as something threatening to our health. When a virus undergoes mutations, it changes its characteristics due to which the antibodies already produced in the body of humans following exposure to the original or earlier variants of the same virus may become less effective or even ineffective at preventing the infections. However, the latest research has provided insight into how viral mutations can sometimes be beneficial for human health.
Mutations are believed to be a way for our bodies to get trained to recognize and fight the more virulent forms of certain viruses. Also, the variants of some viruses that are more contagious but less virulent offer a natural way for us to prime the body for encountering more dangerous variants.
If this sounds interesting, keep reading to learn more about viral mutations and how they can actually be good for our health.
The Impact of Viral Mutations on the Body’s Response to Infections
Evolution of the Immune System
The immune system is capable of evolving based on the different strains of viruses and bacteria it is exposed to. The evolution of the immune system can allow the antibodies formed in response to some viruses to change so that the body can counter the new variants more efficiently.
Until now, there have been concerns over the discoveries of certain variants of pandemic-causing coronaviruses being more infectious as compared to the original strain of these viruses. However, now scientists have started to find signs of hope of this being a beneficial host-microbe interaction.
Research related to the impact of viruses on the immunity of patients who had developed these infections has led the immunologists to learn that some of the immune system cells have the ability to remember past infections and also react to them.
These cells might also have an ability to modify themselves for countering mutations in the viruses. This means the immune system could have evolved in its own way for dealing with variants.
This suggests that viral mutations could provide an opportunity to the body to support the evolution of the immune system preparing it to tackle the more dangerous infections efficiently.
Supports Antibody-Producing Cells
Viral mutations may also play a role in allowing the body to maintain reserve armies of some antibody-producing cells other than the original cells that had responded to the earlier invasion by the original strain of the virus.
For example, SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, can cause some reserve cells to mutate and produce specific antibodies that are able to recognize the new variants more efficiently. It is considered to be an elegant mechanism that the body adapts to be able to fight the more infectious versions of the variants in the future.
The latest research has also shown that B cell clones produced in the body against some viral mutations can closely mimic the variants of concern like B.1.351. These variants usually contain a set of mutations such as K417N, N501Y, and E484K.
Preliminary studies have shown that a subset of the antibodies released by these cells shows an increased ability to recognize and attack these highly mutated variants. This suggests that viral mutations might help to strengthen the body’s immune system.
Enhances Immune System Defenses
Recovery from serious forms of viral infections such as COVID-19 could be aided by an additional line of defenses of the immune system through T cells. These cells do not attack the viruses directly. However, a subclass of them may seek out the infected cells and attack and destroy them.
T cells have a broad-brush approach for recognizing pathogens as they respond to the fragments from different parts of the virus, which is contrary to the spike-specific nature of the B cells. This makes the T cells less likely to be fooled by the variants.
This study has reported that the T cell response may not be dampened by viral mutations. Also, while the weakened B cells may allow the viruses to gain a foothold, it is possible that T cell activity would keep them from causing serious infections.
In such a scenario wherein the infection could not be prevented, the person may still have a strong T cell response such that it can lessen the severity of the infection.
These studies have revealed that viral mutations could be beneficial for human health. They may strengthen the immune system and allow it to evolve in order to fight infections more efficiently. The use of immunity-balancing supplements like BioPro-Plus could play a major role in such cases to help support the body’s effort to fight viral mutations. It could help to strengthen the immune response against the original viruses as well as the variants and aid in protecting you against the full-blown symptoms of these diseases.
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