CIAA announcement:

All CIAA activities that would require people coming together have stopped for the time being.

Instead we are setting up on-line classes - both free and charged for. Eva is already trying it out. We hope to start something more regular from from Monday, 30 March but if you are interested at this stage, you can contact Eva.

Our e-mail troubles are over, please use our usual e-mail addresses:

update: I have added at the bottom a brief summary of some research from the New Scientist .
The social distancing has to be revised - the new research has determined that the virus can travel 6 metres from a cough and 8 metres from a sneeze. Also, the virus can survive floating in the cloud of aerosol for 3 hours. Also, we should wear masks if we have to go out. The BBC website still recommends 2m as a safe distance.

What can we do about the Covid 19 pandemic ...

Few useful facts:
The virus SARS-CoV-2 causing Covid 19 can enter our body through mucous membranes - mostly via eyes, nose or mouth. This can happen two ways:

1. Someone with Covid 19 coughs or sneezes in our direction and is closer than eight meters from us. Their action would likely result in a spray of water droplets containing the virus which could land in our eyes, nose or mouth.

2. The virus can survive on various surfaces for hours or days and we can touch them and then touch our eyes, nose or mouth (apparently, we touch our face on average 21 times a day).

Most infected people manifest only mild symptoms and about 1 in 5 show no symptoms at all (but they can infect others). Hence, we cannot be sure who is or isn't infected - including ourselves!

How can we increase our chances of not getting infected and not infecting others ...

1. avoid the virus:
- keeping a distance of at least eight meters from everyone
- not touching our face; we do that sometimes without being aware of it
- after touching something, unless very sure it is not contaminated, we should wash our hands asap (20 seconds, with soap).
2. do not spread the virus: -
- we should cough and sneeze into a tissue or a sleeve, if no tissue, or a hand, if no sleeve.
- Wash your hands (20 seconds, with soap) afterwards. -
3. keep physical and mental health:
- healthy diet
- exercise
- avoid stress

How to fight infection by turning back your immune system's clock
(brief summary of a cutting-edge research from the 28-3-2020 issue of New Scientist)
Ultimately, one of the most important things standing between us and a deadly bout of covid-19 is our immune system.

First few useful facts:

The immune system is immensely, mind-bogglingly intricate. It is the second-most complicated system in our body after the brain: it consists of hundreds of cell types and signalling molecules controlled by some 8000 genes, interacting in a network of near-infinite complexity... and it ages with us, weakening as we get older and making us more susceptible to infections. The decline starts surprisingly early in life, during puberty, and can be accelerated by all kinds of lifestyle factors. People who smoke or who are obese are particularly likely to have an immune system that is older than their chronological years. Being sedentary is another risk factor.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to turn back the immunological clock and stay healthy:

- small doses of Vitamin E - 200 international units (IUs)
                          Vitamin D - 1000 - 2000 IUs
                          bigger doses actually suppress some important parts of the immune system
- zinc - very effective for viral infections; dose not specified

There is a lot of information out there. I would choose the food to get the vitamins and zinc as above and forget the suplements it’s better from food then from bottle.
Fermented food - (kimchi, kefir, ...) for healthy gut flora; poor gut health is a cause of premature ageing and a healthy microbiome can reduce your immune age.

- caloric restriction - one of the most successful anti-ageing strategies ever discovered!
In every experimental animal that has been put through this, from fruit flies to primates, it extended lifespan and healthspan (the number of disease-free years at the end of life)
The key is to deactivate a nutrient-sensing pathway inside cells called mTOR, which switches on an evolutionary adaptation to starvation, which prioritises repair and survival pathways over growth and reproduction. Calorie-restricted animals tend to be leaner, fitter, metabolically healthier and mentally sharper than those that eat at will. They also have a stronger immune response.

Unfortunately, it seems to be extremely hard to maintain voluntarily - oh, dear :^(

Fortunately, there are other ways to achieve mTOR inhibition though. One is intermittent fasting, a temporary state of caloric restriction that is enough to switch off mTOR for a short while and still obtain its benefits. There are various regimes including the 16:8 diet, which involves completely eschewing calories for 16 hours and only eating in an 8-hour window. Even done once a week, this is an effective way of slowing ageing and strengthening the immune system. :^)

rapamycin - originally developed as an immunosuppressant for organ transplant patients, in the early 2000s was found to significantly extend the lifespan of worms, yeast, flies and mice. It is a mTOR inhibitor that is thought to exert its life-extending properties by mimicking the effect of caloric restriction. But it failed a phase III clinical trial (for reasons that are still unclear) and thus has not been approved for that use in humans. It may still be approved and there are many other mTOR inhibitors in development.

exercise (the magical bullet)
is now also proven to be a mTOR inhibitor (but perhaps to a lesser degree as it doesn’t show as dramatic results as the caloric restriction)
Exercise has other immune-boosting effects too. Active skeletal muscle is anti- inflammatory and stimulates macrophages, it is a profound immunoregulatory tissue in the body. Exercise benefits all ages.

Thymus, a heart shaped patch of lymphatic tissue where new T-cells mature before being released on active duty. It is very active in childhood but degenerates with age, shrinking by about 3 per cent a year from the onset of puberty. By late middle age, it has usually been reduced to a few scraps, and T-cell counts fall off a cliff.
This has consequences for the ability to fend off novel pathogens. In older people, who barely have any thymus left, the adaptive immune system is severely diminished, leaving an entire flank of their immune defences horribly exposed.

Again, exercise comes to the rescue. There are strong suggestions from animal experiments that exercise might not just prevent thymic degeneration, but also reverse it, although that hasn’t yet been demonstrated in humans.

There are other areas of research, not mentioned in this article, that are important for improving our immune system, such as spending time in nature, proper sleep, meditation and probably few others.

We shall try to update the above when we become aware of new relevant facts and ideas.
If you think of something we should add or remove, please let us know.

updated: 5 April 2020