Can you be immune to coronavirus?


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Dr. Mathew Devine, the Medical Director at Accountable Health Partners and Highland Family Medicine, discussed coronavirus immunity, medication concerns, and the race for a vaccine Friday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“The thing to remember is this is a novel – or new – strain of the coronavirus,” said Dr. Devine. “We don’t have immunity to it yet because humans haven’t been exposed to this particular strain of the virus. Our bodies make what are called antibodies to certain viruses and bacterias and we don have those yet in our system.”

Dr. Devine said there are questions about the impact of certain common medications as it relates to COVID-19. “Those particular medications are in a class of cardiovascular or blood pressure medications. They’re in a class of ACE inhibitors or ARBs and the evidence actually shows that they do not make you more susceptible to getting COVID. What’s being discovered is that people have underlying heart disease and that’s actually making them more susceptible. The other class of medications is called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and these are your ibuprofens, your naproxens, your Aleves, your Advils, and they actually do not show that you are more susceptible – but we’re recommending that if you do have a fever or don’t feel well to use Tylenol or acetaminophen instead.”

The FDA is fast-tracking efforts to create a vaccine, but Dr. Devine said we’ll need to be patient. “Vaccines take a while to be created. There are multiple different ways to make a vaccine. Essentially what you want to do is you want to get in and disrupt the pattern of the virus by way of either killing it or rearranging it or breaking it down into a place that’s not going to make somebody sick.”

Dr. Devine said approved vaccines have a small amount of the virus load that you don’t get sick from to give you immunity to the virus. “The challenge is you have to figure out where in that line to make the vaccine and then produce it, make sure it’s safe, make sure it’s effective, and that doesn’t just happen overnight.”

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