Masks can help build immunity: Journal | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Before a vaccine for smallpox was discovered, people used to take recourse to variolation, a process in which those who didn’t yet have the disease were exposed to material from the scabs of smallpox patients. This caused a mild infection, but protected them from contracting the full disease. Now some scientists hypothesise that using masking in the Covid era could achieve similar results. In a commentary in New England Journal of Medicine, Monica Gandhi and George W Rutherford of University of California in San Francisco said face masks could work like variolation to generate immunity. and slow the spread of Covid infection. Mask may provide vaccine-like effect: DoctorThis possibility is consistent, according to experts, with a long-standing theory of viral pathogenesis, which holds that the severity of the disease is proportionate to the viral inoculum (infecting amount of the virus) received. Gandhi and Rutherford inferred that if the viral inoculum matters in determining the severity of Covid infection, an additional hypothesised reason for wearing facial masks would be to reduce the viral inoculum to which the wearer was exposed and the subsequent clinical impact of the disease. “Since masks filter out some virus-containing droplets (with filtering capacity …

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