Basic Questions that come to my mind, when we listen to all the news regarding Ebola epidemic.
What is the problem? Are we solving the correct problem?
It reminds me of a famous quote.
“If I had an hour to save the world, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute finding solutions.” – Albert Einstein
Definitely we have following answers for Ebola puzzle.
1. There is no Drug that is documented as effectively curing the Ebola infection.
2. We are hoping to get a Vaccine as early as possible which will solve all our issues.
3. We are not having enough funding to carry out the Ebola Prevention program.
Definitely none of them showing any hope for getting any close to solving the problem.
Lets start with some known facts and what are the findings which are deviating from the facts.
We have a highly developed Immune system that protect our body from any foreign agent invasion. But in Ebola infection Immune System is not able to protect our body from developing the disease.
So let us go into the process of controlling the Ebola Infection Using our own Immune System. What need to be corrected to bring back normalcy in our immune system.
From the point of view of a disease control, distinctly our body contains 3 types of cells.
- Somatic cells or normal cells which function normal body functions and they are not involved in immune system activities, except when they are infected they show a flag of alert situation, so that immune system takes an action based upon its decision making.
- Surveillance cells are the primary defense mechanism of immune system which is responsible for catching the pathogens and generating Immunological memory. These cells act non-specifically which means they act in the same way irrespective of the type of pathogen. These cells are responsible for creating Immune Memory.
- Terminator cells are the secondary defense mechanism of immune system which is much coordinated and specific immune response against a particular pathogen, which is detected by the Surveillance cells and for which Immune Memory already exists or newly created by the Surveillance cells.
Lets simplify the puzzle with an example. Lets take an example of a city which is fighting a terrorist gorilla war.
City is our body, Ebola Virus is the Terror group. Somatic cells are normal citizens. Surveillance Cells are city maintenance forces like City Police and traffic police. Terminator cells are nothing but our army which only come into play after they get concrete report about the presence of the terror group.
In a normal terror attack of known terror group, City Police or Traffic police identify the Terror Group based on Existing Criminal records and they inform the Army to assassinate the Terror Group specifically. In this way Major disaster is averted from occurring.
But what if, there is no previous criminal record for a terror group, Surveillance forces can’t catch a member of the group, as they are not sure about identity of the new terror group. They take time to identify the new Terror group which is not specific and identification occurs by chance, which proceeds as below.
For every known terror groups for which there is a criminal record, Surveillance forces do have a specific handcuffs (Antibodies). Which they use to catch hold of the criminal. But to catch a new terror group they need to develop new handcuffs based on the exterior shape of the unidentified members moving in the city. So it is a hit and trial method by the immune system, as it is not aware of the vital spot of the new member. If the Hit and trial method is successful then Surveillance system can catch hold of a member of the new Terror group and lodge a case and alert the army and problem is solved.
But the success of the new terror group lies in its ability to successfully hiding its vital spot and misleading the immune system by exposing in-penetrable surface, handcuffs (antibodies) against which can’t arrest its movement, in turn immune system can’t catch hold of it, as result it can travel freely in the new city and Surveillance system is always attacking on a place where terror group will always win.
In simple words, our immune system can never develop a antibody against a hidden target and so it can never be able to catch hold of the pathogen and as a result it can’t develop a immune memory and as a result secondary immune system action can’t be triggered and hence immune system is inactive and in the meanwhile Ebola virus is damaging all the cellular systems of the body of which immune system is also a part.
So our problem is, Can we find an antibody which can’t be developed by immune system in presence of Ebola virus in the body, but it can attack the hidden target of Ebola virus.
If we supply that antibody to the body it attacks the hidden target of Ebola Virus and immobilizes it inside the body and surveillance cells can catch hold of the Ebola virus and create an Immune Memory for Ebola Virus and which is the starting point for Terminator system activation to specifically target and clear the Ebola virus from the body.