I am a mechanical engineer, years ago, I solved an engineering problem related to seed storage facilities. My design ideas led to the “Molecular Theory for Osmosis”. In addition to water purification applications, osmosis (molecular transport through a membrane) is important in other fields.
Recently, I’ve been studying biology for membrane transport applications. Now, the Covid-19 pandemic has opened my eyes to the incredible complexity of the human body and to the many scientists and engineers that have improved our understanding and are working on developing solutions. We still have a long way to go.
Currently many are working on methods to reduce the effects of the Covid-19 virus. A virus is a fundamental lifeform. It exists, contains genetic material, but must find a host cell to reproduce. The host cell dies while producing copies of the virus. A virus is very small. It is approximately 1000 times smaller than a cell.
Covid-19 has caused severe illness and death to many people. It spreads quickly by physical contact with people and from contaminated surfaces. It is also transferred in aerosols formed by coughing and by breathing. Currently, we are reducing interpersonal transmissions by self-isolation, careful handwashing, and protective masks.
There are many who are working on methods to reduce or stop the disastrous effects of the covid-19 virus and disease. Some are developing vaccinations. A vaccination introduces a weakened form of the virus so that our bodies can develop antibodies. An Antibody is gamma globulin ( a very high molecular weight group of proteins) developed by our bodies to protect us from invasive foreign substances such as viruses. We do not know how to make an antibody but, we do know how to trigger our bodies to make them..
Vaccinations are used to halt the spread of Polio, measles and a variety of influenzas. In some cases, passive vaccinations are used. Antibodies taken from a donor are injected into another person.
Others are working on drugs. They are trying to find existing, or develop new, drugs that will help to reduce the disastrous effects of this new virus Covid-19. The complete DNA of this virus has been identified. Some are attempting to use this DNA map to develop means to kill or deactivate the virus.
Although each of these methods may yield a solution to prevent pandemics in the future, they all require time, testing and dedication from many talented and dedicated investigators.
Our medical people have developed incredible knowledge about the human body and how to protect it. We have come a long way from the days of Ben Franklin (~1750) when operations were done without sterilization and with bare hands. We still have much to learn about our amazing bodies. We still have differing opinions about how a nutrient enters a cell (molecular transport through a membrane).
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