Although it’s been three months since the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) in China, India has remained largely immune to the deadly virus. The Coronavirus has infected over 80,000 and killed around 2700 people globally, but not even a single corona related death incident has been recorded in India.
With a population of over 1.38 billion, only 3 confirmed cases of Covid -19 came to light recently. But they were successfully treated and shortly discharged from the hospital. According to a report in Hindustan Times, India is now Coronavirus free as there are no new confined cases.
While Indian experts and government say that it may be due to the strict and timely response from the authorities that have helped them control the virus, speculations are rife that the actual reasons might be different. Some say that it’s the climate and food that make it difficult for Indians to catch such diseases. Others are of the view that poor hygiene in India is what makes people immune to such epidemic diseases.
So, what’s the reality? Let’s find out:
1. Possibility Of Cross Immunity and Poor Sanitation
There’s a high possibility of the existence of cross-immunity between the Coronavirus and already circulating viruses in India. When a country faces a new epidemic, the diseases attack people in their most severe form. However, if people have already experienced such an epidemic before, the disease doesn’t affect them as severely. Sometimes, it just causes a mild illness. Enhanced immunity could be a good reason why Indians have remained largely unaffected by the Corona outbreak. As per experts, even if the virus successfully infects a person, the progression and severity of the infection depends on his/her immunity levels.
2. Rising Temperature
Several studies have shown an inverse link between the effectiveness of the Coronavirus and a rising temperature. Coronavirus starts losing its effectiveness with the increase in temperature. Many parts of India remain hot throughout the year, which could be the reason why India is relatively safer than western countries. As summer has already arrived in most parts, India is likely to remain virus free in the coming months.
3. More Immunity Genes
A team comprising of Indo-US researchers claimed that Indians have more numbers of natural killer cells KIR (killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors) compared to other populations of the world. These natural killer cells are quite effective in detecting and terminating infections as soon as they enter the body. According to researchers, Indians might have acquired KIR cells because of natural selection to tackle the changing environmental conditions and other challenges in the country.
4. The Hygiene Hypothesis
According to the Hygiene Hypothesis, people who are not adequately exposed to viruses, bacteria, and allergens are more prone to catching infections and falling sick down the road. Like all other organs of the body, our immune system also needs training and education at an early age for its proper development.
Now, two-third of the Indian population is still living in poverty, and millions do not have access to proper sanitation facilities. Poor hygiene results in numerous infectious diseases every year. This exposure to viruses and diseases throughout the lifetime of average Indians might have trained and strengthened their immune system.
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