How does the new coronavirus deal with human immune system?

If we treat viruses as low-level organisms, thinking that they just invade the human body directly, and only fight face-to-face with immune cells, then we are really wrong. Mandy Hollywood science fiction movie plots will often become part of real life in the future in these movie plots, the viruses are mostly not low-level creature (in fact, it has no life at all), they have a variety of strategies, including deceiving the enemy to disguise, lure and encircle the enemy, find a favorable strategic for offense and defense, etc. In short, the new coronavirus has a set of strategies and tactics to fight against the human immune system. What’s more, the virus itself is not a living body, it has no fear of its own death, so what it shows are behaviors under the thoughts of a success of a group as the primary goal. At the same time, the virus is very good at using the body’s own immunity. In contrast, when human faces the invasion of the virus, they are timid in terms of strategy formulation, they also need to consider human beings in a single unit, family, community and country, and various political, economic, social, environment protection, and even human rights factors in the global society, that’s why they’re definitely at a disadvantage in terms of overall combat strategy against the virus.

The human immune system is divided into two types:

  • Innate Immune System
  • Adaptive Immune System


Innate Immune System:

Specific cells have receptors on the surface and inside that can detect invaders, and use cytokines (a protein) to initiate a series of delicate signal transmission processes to warn neighboring cells to take defensive measures to kill infected cells. Sometimes it also promotes the release of other types of cytokines to strengthen the warning.

【New Coronavirus Strategy】

The two reaction mechanisms of the human immune system when infected, “kills the infected cells” and “the release of other cytokines to strengthen the warning”, are precisely used by the virus as a strategy. The virus will find a way to release a large amount of cytokines in the body, allowing humans to activate the “highly infected” warning signs of cells in the human body, and kill their own cells through the immune system. The most successful countermeasures in human history are not as clever as the strategies of these viruses. The related mechanisms will be explained in detail later.


Adaptive Immune System:

The specific white blood cells called by the innate immune system target specific pathogens to produce specific antibody cells to form longer-lasting immunity. The function of this adaptive immune system requires the infected person to prepare for one to two weeks before it is officially activated. The increase in the number of antibodies and T cells from specific pathogens can paralyze or eliminate invading pathogens.

【New Coronavirus Strategy】

It starts from the two weaknesses of “slowness” of the adaptive immune system (requires one to two weeks of preparation) and “must make enough T cells”. First of all, before the adaptive immune system is ready, it replicates in a large number and infects other people (a rare phenomenon of viruses in the past), and at the same time weakens the body’s acquired immune system mechanisms (that is, adaptive immune system mechanisms). So that T cells cannot be effectively manufactured, reaching a number sufficient to fight the new coronavirus.


Further reading:

How does the new coronavirus infect human body?

From the infection steps of the new coronavirus to illustrate the importance of immune system maintenance