Dr. Cliff Martin Touches on Immunity and How Often One Should Be Tested

Immunity is the body’s defense against anything that is not ourselves, says Dr. Cliff Martin, Chief Medical Officer of OSF HealthCare in Monmouth, Galesburg, and Kewanee:

“For viruses, that means when we get exposed to a virus or if we have a vaccine, our body sees those particles, it recognizes it as not being part of who we are as our individual self and it forms antibodies. Predominately we call them IGM and IGT, which are the proteins that then attack those viruses. The immunity that we develop depends really how much we are exposed to a particular microorganism, in this case the coronavirus. How much does it take to create an immunity that is short lived and how much does it take to create an immunity that lasts forever. As we know certain viruses, say the measles virus, creates such a reaction in our bodies that we are often left with lifetime immunity. Same thing is mostly true with the measles vaccine. Whereas a lot of the respiratory viruses like influenza, has the ability to change just enough that we often don’t have lifetime immunity, but sometimes seasonal at best,” reports Dr. Martin.

With the availability of more COVID-19 testing kits, questions arise of how often a person should be tested. Dr. Martin, has more:

“Since we know getting exposed to the virus, it may take up to a week or ten days before we actually start to become symptomatic. It is believed we may actually start to shed the virus a day or so before we start to have symptoms. As we know it’s been an issue all along some have next to no symptoms and other get quite ill. So there is always going to be that question of how often, who all should be tested, and how frequently to be able to get this controlled,” Dr. Martin says.

OSF HealthCare and other surrounding health centers are sending their tests to the state lab as there is very little ability to test results in their own labs.