FitOldDog’s Warning #2: Ebola Evades Two Arms Of The Human Immune System, Hopefully Not The Third?

There are at least three arms to the human immune system:

(1) innate immunity

(2) adaptive immunity

(3) our intelligence, giving us the potential ability to avoid or suppress this challenge.

Foot and Mouth fire

Typical fire for burning cattle, sheep and pigs in a Foot and Mouth outbreak in England, where there is a slaughter policy. FitOldDog remembers, as a very young veterinarian, personally, shooting affected animals, and supervising the building of such a massive fire in the winter of 1967-68. At this link.

Ebola is very effective at evading 1 and 2. I wonder if we will have the political foresight and wisdom to adequately apply 3, for our own defense, and that of the rest of the world?

My opinion, based on comments in my previous warning, remains unchanged.

We must work to contain EBOLA, develop a vaccine, and ring vaccinate ASAP.

I experienced the scourge of canine parvovirus-2 (CPV-2) on the dog population of England in the late 1970s, and watched as Foot and Mouth Disease spread along the tracks of the milk trucks and the prevailing wind, whilst working to slaughter entire herds of cattle, sheep and pigs, as a young veterinarian, seconded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) to this devastating outbreak, around the delightful town of Diss, in the north midlands. I killed a lot of farm animals, and encountered some wonderful farmers, facing devastating emotional challenges. Yes! Dairy farmers love their cows, the good ones, anyway.

Ebola predictions by CDC

“Nurses escort a suspected Ebola patient into a treatment center in Monrovia, Liberia. The CDC says the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the two hardest-hit countries, could reach 550,000 to 1.4 million by late January, if efforts to control the disease aren’t stepped up. (Ahmed Jallanzo / EPA)” WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? NO POSITIVE PRESSURE HAZMAT SUITS, IN MY OPINION.

A few weeks ago, I published a blog post outlining my concerns, with respect to the risks we face from the ongoing Ebola crisis in Africa, and how it might spread across the world.

After spending an enjoyable lunch today, with a friend, my concerns were raised many fold, as my lunch companion, Byron, a Virologist and Biochemist, informed me that he was as concerned as I. Byron gave me an interesting and informative lecture on the nature of this small RNA virus, indicating that it could evade both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system.

Oh! Boy, That’s bad news, I thought!

Following our enjoyable meal, I headed for Google, via which I had, by chance just prior to this lunch, contributed to the Ebola campaign – Google will give $2 for every $1 donated – I encourage you to consider this.

Cellular and Molecular Immunology by Abbas et al.

An fascinating read, highly recommended by FitOldDog, though I preferred the old cover.

I researched Ebola with respect to immune function, both innate (ancient and somewhat non-specific) and adaptive (more recent, and highly targeted based on the use of pathogen-specific antibodies and lymphocytes). Lo and behold, Byron was right (not that I doubted him for a moment), and these abilities of Ebola had been known for some time. Here I have linked a recent review article on the topic for your reading pleasure. There are plenty more.

If you are interested in further understanding the immune system, I highly recommend the book in the adjacent image. I read previous versions a couple of times, years ago, whilst struggling with the interpretation of large-scale gene expression data, but it has all faded away through lack of use in this aging brain of mine.

What can you do to help?

Contribute to an Ebola campaign, as money is needed to pay for people and resources, NOW!



  1. pennie clark says

    So I had planter fasciitis a few years back. What saved me was my chiropractor. He let me borrow a machine originating rollers that I pushed my foot down on…….it was not pleasant for sure but in a few weeks it was over…..

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.