“Have you had it yet?” Small talk like this golden question is coming in red hot like a night fever. Some of us have some pretty rotten luck when it comes to COVID-19. Despite wearing masks, checking in everywhere we go, avoiding hotspots and people wearing hemp clothing, getting the two vaccines, the booster, posting selfies on socials with tiny circle bandaids on our upper arms with heroic captions like ‘Doing my bit! #pfizerprincess’, we STILL end up with COVID-19. Some of us more than once.
It’s maddening for those of us that seem to be doing ‘all the right things’ and getting struck down with the dreaded Rona, while others seem to glide (sometimes without caution) through the pandemic and never ever contract it. “It’s not fair!” some of you may whimper as you continue to live life burdened with a dry cough that has no plans on leaving. Well, just like every P.E teacher in the history of time has said, “Life isn’t fair”.
So, if we’re not talking about fairness, are we talking about luck? Are these people who are dodging the virus a pack of smug lucky ducks? Well, researchers are a bit baffled, too.
Some studies suggest that maybe these COVID-19 escapees have a genetic difference that protects them from it, whilst another study implied that simply being infected by the common cold gives people a stronger immunity to the virus. When we experience the common cold, our body creates T cells that protect our bodies and strengthen our immune system, so if we are recovering from a cold, it could be suggested that we’re safer from the likes of COVID-19.
So should we all just get colds and be the strongest, albeit snottiest people in history? Doctors say no. The T cells created to fight the common cold can help dodge COVID-19, but some researchers say the common cold can make some of us more vulnerable to catching it.
Thus, we’re brought back to question the role genetics plays in this Mexican standoff. An international study conducted by the ‘COVID Human Genetic Effort’ is looking into whether some people cannot be infected by the virus because of their genetic and inborn makeup.
The study has gathered data from 700 people so far, but they’re far from any conclusive answers, which means we need to be patient - a skill we have all had to get good at during this pandemic, some less graciously than others.
Researchers are confident they’ll locate these X-men and they shall be crowned winners of the pandemic. This is not the first pandemic humanity has seen, and these immunity gods existed in those times, too. Some people are just strangely built to survive horrible things, like global pandemics, stuffing up a reverse parallel park in front of a busy cafe, and watching Love at First Sight.
If you’re wondering if you are one of these ironclad COVID-19 avoiders, doctors urge you not to be complacent. The message from health experts is very clear: go get your vaccines because there is a small chance that so far, you have simply been a lucky duck.