Another weird thing about the immune system is that although it is most well-known for it's role in protecting us against pathogens, it actively protects us from cancer on a regular basis. The cancers that do appear in humans are possibly only a tiny percentage of the number that have existed.
The article focusses mainly on B cells. But T cells are a really key anti-viral cell. CD4 T cells coordinate the immune response (B cells included, as well as CD8 T cells, NK cells, innate cells etc etc ). There are a similar number of immune cells in our body as their are neurons, and they theoretically can interact with any other immune cell, communicating in several ways. We are nowhere near understanding how it all works together yet!
Article about the T cells by the same author: https://berthub.eu/articles/posts/covid-19-t-cells/
On average, by the way, there is about 1 point mutation in the part coding for antibodies for every single division in the germinal center. But since the particular mutation is random, I'm not sure I like describing this as the B-cell editing its own genome. It makes it more mysterious than necessary.
I should probably turn this part of my PhD thesis into a set of blog posts once I've defended..."affinity maturation" is a weird and wonderful process.
Importantly, when the immune system goes haywire like it does in Covid, it's because of some fuckery with this system that is at the root cause more often than not.
Hence transplant rejections.
They actually help us (Eukaryotes, broadly) a lot in containing the spread of bacteria.
Maybe in the future our only help in dealing with multi-resistant ones (because of our mindless use of antibiotics), which in comparison is a more scaring prospect - several orders of magnitude higher - than this novel type of human betacoronavirus meticulously detected by millions of non-standardized (temperature (annealing, denaturation), number of gen-sequences, # of cycles) RT-PCR-Tests daily, worlwide ...
I feel like that really is a terrible take on what that comic shows. Based on those two lines, I was expecting the comic to be about how viruses take over a cell and use its own internal structures to turn it into a virus manufacturing plant until it finally explodes and dies, releasing these invaders into the system.
It doesn't show that and it also doesn't really show much about the immune system. It mostly talks about how hand washing and social isolation are effective barriers to the spread of disease, which is something I'm a big believer in but has nothing to do with how our immune system works.
Also also (a thing I said some hours ago elsewhere on HN):
... "the immune system" doesn't really mean a specific set of organs like "the circulatory system" or "the digestive system" means a specific set of organs. It's just kind of a catch phrase for "how the body protects itself" and it's not really that well understood or explained exactly that happens.
> "your immune system is probably 99.9% effective"
> "death rate of 10%"
> "deadlier than some strains of the flu"
> "safe than some strains of the flu"
Those aren’t contradictory though. It’s not the 99.9% of the virus that your immune system neutralised that kills a patient with severe COVID-19, it’s the other 0.1%. Deadlier than some strains of flu doesn’t mean deadlier than all strains of the flu.
To a healthy person the article is accurate.