Tuesday, 17 May, 2022
HomeHealthIndia's low hygiene gives it more immunity against virus, helps in Covid...

India’s low hygiene gives it more immunity against virus, helps in Covid fight — CSIR study

In a pre-print paper, CSIR talks about better 'immune training' among Indians that may be the reason why the country has lower Covid cases and deaths per million than global average.

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New Delhi: US President Donald Trump may have ruffled a few feathers with his “India is filthy” remark, but if a new paper by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is anything to go by, the country’s less than desirable hygiene levels have likely helped Indians fight Covid-19 better.

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, says that high parasite and bacterial disease burden in “low and low-middle income countries” and a chronic exposure to communicable diseases lead to “immune training” among populations.

It draws on what is known as the immune hypothesis, which states that better hygiene and decreasing incidence of infections in developed countries have given rise to autoimmune disorders and allergies.

Autoimmune disorders are a risk factor in Covid-19 patients because the body’s own hyperactive immune response creates what is known as the cytokine storm, that is often the real killer.

“Our observation of the weak negative correlation of Covid-19 LDM (log of deaths per million) with communicable diseases, and its positive correlation with incidence of autoimmune disorders in the high GDP countries, is indication of the interplay of host immunity and viral infection,” read the pre-print paper on medRxiv.

Shekhar Mande, CSIR director general, who is also an author of the study, told ThePrint, “We analysed 25 parameters. It seemed paradoxical that people were dying more in countries with higher GDPs. The explanation is that in these countries, life expectancy is more, they have higher incidences of non-communicable diseases which are all risk factors for Covid-19 deaths.”

He added, “We also looked at the sanitation levels…There is a hygiene hypothesis that says if you are exposed to various pathogens since childhood, you are capable of dealing with them better. Low hygiene means more pathogens and the body’s immune system is better trained to deal even with new ones. When that training is not there, it overreacts, leading to the cytokine storm which can turn fatal.”

Also read: Here is why the ICMR study that found plasma therapy ineffective on Covid is being questioned

More people dying in countries with higher GDP

The study compared publicly available data from 106 countries, including Covid-19 deaths per million, GDP, incidences of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension etc. and sanitation data.

The question of whether BCG vaccinations — used for tuberculosis — have a role to play in the better statistics of some poorer nations was also examined. But the study found “negligible correlation” between BCG vaccination and lower death rates.

“An interesting relationship between severity of Covid-19 outcome and several non-communicable disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular illnesses has been noted,” said the study.

Since a large population with these disorders lives in the high HDI (human development index) countries, co-morbidities might have emerged as important determinants of CFR (case fatality rate) due to Covid-19, the paper noted.

“Similarly, people above the age of 65 are also believed to be at a greater risk, with the percentage of such people being significantly more in the higher HDI countries. Thus, co-morbidities with non-communicable diseases and the fraction of people living above the age of 65, being skewed towards the high-income countries, offers possible explanations to the perplexing observation of CFR dichotomy among nations,” the study said.

When asked, Mande didn’t contest the fact that India is safer because it is filthier, though he laughed at the mention of Trump’s statement.

Also read: India could have bigger Covid peak next month if mask, social distancing rules aren’t followed


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  1. Dear friends,
    First of all, the intention of the article is to tell it is good India is unhygienic so we have achieved the low morbidity and low death rate. Bravo! to us all Indians. It is a shame to be unhygienic and uneducated without proper ethics and concern about our public health. Our Doctors are fed up of telling patients and public about wearing masks and maintaining the Social Distance which nobody is caring about in small cities all over India. All Markets are always full without masks and people are already talking as though Covid is gone why are you wearing Mask. Our people are most illiterate and also some literate brutes who cannot improve with your simple talk and requests. Severe punishment is the only solution to such maniacs. Stringent action should be taken from both center n state govt to enforce law in this health crisis of the century otherwise we will be losing so many famous personalities, Intellectuals, Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, Scientists, CAs etc. Who are the backbone of our country. All this because of some illiterate brutes as I have observed till now, by their negligence and carelessness we are suffering, which should be stopped at once
    Govt should make strict regulations in wearing masks, maintain social distance and Hand hygenie otherwise put penalty without mercy.

  2. The Print seems to be a responsible journalism portal,which is almost the highest praise you can give a news agency nowadays.

    But publishing an article of such ambivalence and dubious nature.

    What was the urgency of posting this article? What benefit does it confer to the readers? Did you reason why this paper isn’t published yet? Or how many pre print papers exist for COVID ?

    For the benefit of the readers whenever you find news papers publishing articles on studies and you find words like ‘Pre-print’, ‘ not peer-reviewed’, ‘hypothesis’, ‘weak correlation’ etc. it means NOTHING HAS BEEN PROVED YET. Just stop reading and believing it.

    And I m not even getting to the technicalities of how ours is a country with already Low levels of testing, Poor outreach to patients in peripheries, etc. which would render such a study false and unscientific.

    How immature of you to publish a paper on only one of the 25 parameters tested. And to give it a geopolitical spin. Are you going publish something tomorrow encouraging smoking now because it may have benefits?

    Quoting CSIR directors to save yourselves…Did the ICMR yet concede to community spread?

    Madam, you would stand to gain a lot on how to decipher a scientific paper if you only watch the excellent series of videos by your own editor-in-chief, honourable Mr. Shekhar Gupta.

    Please take this as a constructive criticism because THE NO. OF PEOPLE DYING DUE TO BAD HYGIENE IS OVERWHELMING.. ITS PREVENTABLE.. ITS PITIFUL FOR A COUNTRY WITH SUCH A HERITAGE AS OURS.. AND its much much more than what COVID can kill in decades or centuries.

    Please be more responsible. People are losing their heads and spine in this country.

    Do not take your role for granted in these unprecedented times.

    Thank you.
    Jai Hind

    Dr (Maj) Anup

  3. Updates of different news items including the covid-19 topics are very satisfying to read if informations contained in your topics are completely true & dependable. I have liked enough the reading out of topics very much. Go on like the present trend you are maintaining. Thanks.

  4. india do not have low mortality from COVID 19



  5. low hygiene provides immunity if you are healthy and able to generate antibodies.city life richness allures you to take rich food in turn sub oxidation of food generates extra bilirubin uric acid etc mother of all diseases.read article unobserved pathology acute chronic diseases by dm jopfie in homoeopathic recorder 1904 archive..modern doctors even i have seen curing others in fact suppress disease,themselves getting cured from homeopaths ayurveds.see your blood is not thick not black if suspect sub oxidation even simplle natsulph 12x will clear your toxins and clean your liver.atleast take liver complex homeopathic of any company,you will be benefitted.a retred colonel bhaskar sarkar self educated in homeopathy has pdf named homeopathy for prevention of diseases and self medication.bengal is capital of homeopathy.,being from punjab we take pill too small to cure this is attitude,choce is with you.

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