We all know SARS CoV2 binds to ACE 2 after priming by another protein called TMPRSS2. One latched on, it establishes itself inside the cell and uses host machinery to make next generation or progeny.
The virus has a defective gene called RDRP, which creates errors in proof reading and consequently coronavirus -2 keeps accumulating mutations faster. The vast majority of mutations provide no advantage to the virus and die out. But mutations that improve the virus’s fitness or transmissibility have a greater chance to increasing infectivity.
This is exactly whats happening with SARS CoV2. The 17 mutations confer another survival advantage to the virus. One such mutations confers additional affinity for the S protein to bind to the ACE2 receptor.
To recall, a sneeze of an infected person blows almost 4.5 to 10 million copies of the virus. We also know that these numbers may scale up-to 54 million in one bout of coughing. As though that is not enough, we know that a virion can produce 100000 copies in just over 24 hours.
All it means, the precautions we followed to stay safer and all the more relevant now, plus limit the exposure (despite masks and distancing) to not more than 15 minutes.
Of course, immunity and mental health plays a significant role in fighting the virus. While some may interpret immunity as gulping a few pills, the actual benefit comes from being physically active.
Another aspect that kills your immunity is depression. While there can be several factors involved in the causation of depression, it is best to teleconsult, and mitigate that. It is important to stay healthy – both physically, mentally and spiritually.
Thus, prevention comes from dual action – stringently following precautions and keeping yourself healthy.
Shashank Heda, MD