Scientists believe that face masks are the most effective shield against “Covid-19”, and as a result, they have become mandatory in many cities, states and countries to limit the spread of the deadly disease.
The mask may have another benefit, as some scientists now believe that it exposes the wearer to smaller, less harmful doses of the disease that triggers an immune response.
This not yet proven theory suggests that masks can help “vaccinate” people while they wait for an actual vaccine against the virus.
And people around the world usually wear surgical or cloth masks or other covers, as a way to help prevent infected people from spreading the new Corona virus.
Although it does not provide full protection, it may reduce the amount of viruses that wearers inhale, according to a recent research paper published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California San Francisco, told Agence France-Presse: “We assume that the higher the dose or vaccine of the virus in your body, the more sick you are. We believe that masks reduce the dose of the virus that you inhale, and thus raise infection rates Without symptoms. “
Gandhi, director of the UCSF-Gladstone AIDS Research Center, added that the asymptomatic infection is associated with a strong immune response from T-lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, that may work against “Covid-19”.
And she continued: “We believe that the masks can act as a kind of bridge to the vaccine by giving us some immunity,” adding that researchers are conducting several studies to try to test the theory.
This may include looking at whether mandatory face masks in certain cities have reduced the severity of the disease there.
We have to “take a different look at the use of masks,” which the health authorities initially considered unnecessary, given the shortage, and today, they are widely recommended to slow the spread, Bruno Huyn, director of medical research at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, told AFP. Infection.
While these face coverings may not completely prevent us from contracting “Covid-19”, they most likely reduce the number of virus particles we inhale, “the viral dose.”
Scientists believe that a lower viral dose can reduce the severity of the disease we get. In fact, when masking the face is applied, a much higher percentage of new cases of “Covid-19” will not show symptoms.
Although there are some skeptics about the validity of the theory that masks reduce exposure to the virus, some studies have proven their benefit, including research conducted in Hong Kong on hamsters, where scientists simulated wearing a mask by infected rodents and others.
They found that hamsters are less likely to contract “Covid-19” if they are “masked”, and even if they contract the disease, their symptoms are milder.
There were also some occasional experiences in the real world. In one case, a cruise ship that left Argentina in mid-March introduced surgical masks to everyone on board after the first sign of infection appeared.
The researchers found that 81% of those who contracted the virus did not show symptoms, compared to about 40% on other ships in which the masks were not systematically worn.