“There are other ways to deal with a pathogen, and that includes cooperating with it.”
As health writer Markham Heid reports, researchers in the field of disease tolerance think they may have answers to the question of why people’s bodies can react so differently to Covid-19. “Unlike disease resistance, which refers to all of the body’s methods of killing and expunging a threat, disease tolerance describes a host’s ability to put up with or even accommodate an intruder,” Heid writes.
“While killing a pathogen is important, clearly there are examples where these mechanisms can’t fully explain variations in disease severity,” says Janelle Ayres, PhD, a professor and principal investigator at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California.
Whenever there are major disparities in disease outcomes for one virus, Ayres tells Heid that disease tolerance mechanisms are likely at play. She and others in the disease tolerance field believe that building an understanding of what these mechanisms are could help in the development of new Covid-19 treatments. Read the full story below.