By David Fletcher
A few weeks ago Toby Young had a column in the Daily Telegraph that came under heavy artillery from the powers that be. Young dared to raise the notion of cross-immunity; Natural immunity to SARS-CoV-2 through previous exposure to other coronaviruses such as the common cold.
The Guardian gleefully notes: The comment piece, which is no longer available on the Telegraph website, claimed that some people “will have a natural immunity because they’ve already successfully fought off other coronaviruses, such as the common cold” and that “people in [this] category will be immune”.
The good news is that the common cold might help to protect people against COVID‑19. One study of more than 800,000 people, for example, showed that adults who had had cold symptoms within the previous year were less likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 — although why this is so remains a mystery.
Another way that seasonal colds might be contributing to COVID-19 immunity is that a current rhinovirus infection might interfere directly with SARS-CoV-2 — perhaps by kicking off interferon responses, part of the immune system that inhibits viral reproduction. A study by Ware and his colleagues, for example, shows that someone with a rhinovirus infection is 70% less likely to also get a common coronavirus infection, compared with someone who doesn’t have the sniffles. Clinical microbiologist Alberto Paniz Mondolfi at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and colleagues have shown markedly few rhinovirus co-infections in people with SARS-CoV-2 in New York City. “Rhinovirus is one tough virus,” says Paniz Mondolfi. Its fast growth stops other viruses from taking off, and it could conceivably be outcompeting SARS-CoV-2, he says.
Surely if exposure to the common cold helps build immunity to SARS-CoV-2, shouldn’t we be socialising? Shouldn’t we be sending kids back to school? As a parent with three young children, we have had several rounds of colds in our household over the last 9 months. This can only be a good thing?
What we have seen over the last few weeks is the propaganda and suppression of science and debate ramp up to extraordinary levels. Lockdown sceptics across the political spectrum, and even those scientists who provide evidence that counters the mainstream narrative, are now labelled as “covid deniers”, “conspiracy theorists” and have “blood on their hands”.
As socialists, we got a taster of this establishment and media propaganda through the incredible smearing of Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as anti-semites. Corbyn was the new Hitler, and we were his stormtroopers, apparently. But now that same Left that was subjected to such an intense orchestrated propaganda campaign but a few years ago are cheering on the very same thing. Will the real socialists please stand up?