I have been interested in learning about biological systems for a few years now, generally about the human body and its functioning. The immune system, in particular, has intrigued me ever since. The reason for my keenness is to understand how nature has responded to external threats, dust particles, viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites – pathogens and how it builds immunity to these dangers lurking all around us.
Some interesting facts about the immune system:
- Fever, running nose, mucus, cough are indicators of a healthy immune system.
- Multi-layered skin is the primary defense mechanism. Openings such as the mouth, nose, and eyes create saliva, mucus, and tears to try to flush out pathogens.
- When pathogens bypass the primary defense, white blood cells invade the affected area to try to destroy the invader.
- The immune system releases chemicals that cause fever. Fever may stop pathogens from growing because of high temperatures.
- The adaptive immune system has a mechanism to identify self and non-self. When non-self-pathogens are recognized by the immune system through antigens, the immune system produces cells that attack the pathogens or produces antibodies to destroy pathogens.
- The vaccine is an ineffective pathogen that contains antigens that stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies that are capable of identifying pathogens.
The pandemic Covid-19 (Coronavirus) bypasses all these layers of defense. The pandemic virus has spread across the world infecting many, taking thousands of lives, infusing horrific fear among the population, wreaking havoc on the economy.
It would take some time for the biological immune system to recognize this as non-self, to generate antibodies and destroy the virus. It would take months for us to create a vaccination to artificially stimulate the immune system. Time to respond is not in seconds, minutes or hours. It is months and possibly a year.
When you look around for Covid-19 prevention, you’ll invariably find out that ‘hygiene’ keeps the virus away. Hygiene not only prevents infection to oneself but also helps contain the virus from spreading from person to person. Viruses transmit from person to person when they come in contact with each other, when they sneeze, cough or through physical contact.
While Covid-19 or coronavirus has pushed us to stay indoors and work-from-home, our computer systems emulating physical living beings also need hygiene – “Cyber Hygiene”. Cyber hygiene is critical to an organization’s security strategy, increasingly necessitated by work-from-home, BYOD and fluid security perimeter. Having continuous visibility to IT assets, understanding what activities are going on in those systems, performing a continuous risk assessment to understand loopholes, mitigating the risks and ensuring fundamental security controls are always in-place is essential to securing organizations.
Founder and CEO, SecPod