Prepare the immune system for a new pandemic

Woman walking in forrest

Source: De Telegraaf, March 29, 2022

The scientists of the Immunowell Foundation are pushing for national campaigns to draw attention to the importance of immune fitness.

State Secretary Van Ooijen's letter to the house of representatives on promoting public health indicates how he intends to promote public health. However, there is no mention of the immune system therein. Much is being invested in technology for early detection and vaccination programs, but the vast majority of people admitted to the ICU with Covid had complaints related to a malfunctioning immune system.

This is caused by a combination of genetics and an unhealthy lifestyle. Known lifestyle risk factors are a chronic shortage of healthy nutrition, a chronic lack of exercise, chronic stress, smoking, alcohol and chronic poor sleep. These factors reinforce each other and together lead to accelerated aging and the malfunctioning of the immune system that must provide, among other things, the defense against viruses. The deteriorated immune system loses resilience and stimulates chronic inflammation.

Our immune fitness is critical to good health and resilience, i.e. the resilience of the immune system and thus the ability to respond well to threats such as infection. The Immunowell Foundation has already carried out various studies using available techniques to measure the immune fitness of people. The studies confirm that lifestyle factors have a significant influence on immune fitness. The studies during the Covid pandemic also show that there is a connection between a low immune fitness and serious Covid complaints. However, the good news is that a malfunctioning immune system can be partially corrected by lifestyle changes. 

Improving immune fitness is basically a person's own responsibility. However, from the legal responsibility for public health, the government can be expected to take measures to protect the health of citizens and to facilitate and stimulate the improvement of immune fitness. 

That is why the Immunowell Foundation is urging national campaigns to bring the importance of immune fitness to the attention, both among the public and within the education system. It is important to invest in the resilience of society so that the Netherlands is ready for the next pandemic.

Note: This text derived from the article that appeared in De Telegraaf on March 29, 2022