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The month of June 2021 is just about gone and with it the start of the “flu season” in this part of the world. COVID-19 pandemic “flu”, however, remains the persistent health and socio-economic challenge of our times...it seems the virus is ever mutating with more deadly variants, like the “delta variant”

From an epidemiological point of view, it is no surprise that as more people get vaccinated, the COVID-19 virus (genetically modified or not) is mutating...mutation is a natural survival mechanism. While the world focuses on deploying more vaccines as the only way to achieve “herd immunity”, this article focuses on the significant and yet neglected role of natural immunity (post-infection) to achieve “herd immunity” and proffer lasting antibody protection. This is happening all the time as only about 10% of those infected are aware that they have been infected. This is especially true in Africa where diagnostic testing is rarely done due to resource constraints. A healthy immune system response is the “unsung hero” of COVID-19 prevention and management.  This emphasizes the role of safe and healthy nutrition in strengthening the immune system against infections in general and COVID-19 in particular.

Is COVID-19 a genetically modified virus with the same destructive agenda as growing food using poisonous synthetic agrochemicals? What is the healthy and sustainable way forward?

It is the second last day of May, 2021 and COVID-19 is not showing any signs of fading away soon; It is not consistent with the normal curve of pandemic viruses. What is the nutritional way forward?

In this month’s blog article we document the challenges of defining the “problem” on the one hand and “nature aligned solutions” on the other, including celebrating the graduation of twenty four “Organic Champions” who just graduated as Rural Service Providers (RSP)

The month of March, 2021 is almost gone and with it the 3rd wave of COVID-19 rages on, without any signs of slowing down soon!  There is, however, some hope with new vaccines now available. However, even with the availability of these experimental vaccines which have been brought to market in unprecedented record time, due to the emergency nature of the pandemic, it is increasingly clear that, there is need to do more in addressing underlying risk factors as part of  the interventions to reduce the most severe outcome; the outcome of death.

  • Epidemiological evidence shows that those who are likely to succumb to Covid-19 are older persons, mostly male, with pre-existing chronic diseases, also referred to as non-communicable diseases (NCDs): These include, diabetes(whose main risk factor is unhealthy diets and physical inactivity), cardiovascular diseases (with blood pressure as the main risk factor), chronic chest diseases; asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD( with tobacco smoking and air pollution as the main risk factors) and cancers, with a broad range of risk factors, including toxic foods and other environmental toxins.(refer to previous blog articles)
  • Emerging evidence suggests that one key modifiable risk factor, previously not considered, is obesity. Recent scientific evidence has demonstrated a high correlation between obesity and more severe outcomes, including a higher likelihood of dying, from COVID-19.
  • The Centers for Disease Control(CDC) in this month’s publication(March, 2021) identifies obesity: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7010e4.htm ,titled Body Mass Index and risk of COVID-19 related hospital admissions, intensive care unit admission, invasive mechanical ventilation and death, March 2020 – December,2020.
  • From the article summary; “...Obesity* is a recognized risk factor for severe COVID-19 (1,2), possibly related to chronic inflammation that disrupts immune and thrombogenic responses to pathogens (3) as well as to impaired lung function from excess weight (4)..”
  • A leading health advocate and nutrition policy advisor, Marion Nestle, in Food Politics, makes reference to the CDC article and recommends a multidisciplinary approach to addressing the increasing burden of obesity: To quote her; “I was struck by headlines last week stating that a CDC study found that 78% of people hospitalized with Covid-19 were overweight or obese.
  • She identifies poverty, inequity, inadequate education, unemployment, limited access to healthcare and of course, poor diets, as the direct and indirect causes of overweight and obesity. https://www.foodpolitics.com/2021/03/24297/
  • The author of this article, Dr. Peter Mokaya, agrees that obesity is a modifiable risk factor which is within the control of those affected and can be addressed through dietary and behavioral changes that include consuming healthier foods, but even more so, safer, diverse, local and organic, agro-ecologically grown foods, without use of toxic agrochemicals Why? Because the residues of these toxic agrochemicals when consumed harm the gut microbiota (useful bacteria and other microorganisms) and create epithelial cell joint abnormal permeability aka “leaky gut”, a major cause of obesity and inflammation, while concurrently weakening the immune system and increasing vulnerability to COVID-19.
  • What is the way forward in addressing obesity? Have a listen to this short video by the author of this article, Dr. Peter Mokaya: He articulates the nutritional and epidemiological advantages of consuming safe and diverse, local, organic foods as part of the supportive package of preventive care to reduce the risk of infection and the severity of COVID-19 disease.

The month of April, 2021 is almost gone, but not without the shocking explosion of COVID-19 infections and severe COVID disease, in India, resulting in painful and needless deaths. This has left many people, especially those doctors who study diseases, their risk factors, distribution and determinants puzzled and scratching their heads: These doctors are also called epidemiologists. The author of this article is an epidemiologist, among others.

This month’s article seeks to highlight Vitamin D as part of the “problem” and also part of the “solution” to severe COVID-19 outcomes. This is therefore a follow up article to identifying the key modifiable risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease.

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Organic Consumers Alliance (OCA) focuses on promoting and creating awareness on the health benefits of consuming organic foods.

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