The white blood cell, staunch ally in the fight for our bodies, is well known and revered for its heroic attempts in battle. This minuscule part of our blood is near mythical in its abilities. A few days ago, scientists gave us another piece of their methods in ensuring our well-being.
Like spies just waiting for their target to appear, these cells burst into action once a foreign body infiltrates and gives on the ground information as the tides of battle shift in a constant state of chaos. Memory cells work in concert with the average foot soldiers to defend against a virus. It’s a spectacular war. Death rains down from all sides, causalities are torn apart, pieces set afloat in the plasma like driftwood, the host trying to stave off the worst of the heat this battle generates. It doesn’t matter to the contenders if the battlefield is destroyed, so long as the battle is won. A Pyrrhic contest.
Once the battle is won, then what? How does our immune system recognize and react to another invasion of the same virus? These questions puzzled scientists for years. The answer has been found, and what an answer it is.
A few of the survivors of the viral war cloak themselves in the clothes of brand new white blood cells, gorge themselves on mitochondria for a bid at immortality, and then, like a good spy, sits and watches and waits for their chance to battle once more. It’s a tale worthy of any warrior, too fantastical to be true, yet it’s another example of the truth being stranger than fiction. Granted, scientists weren’t as descriptive as I was in the telling.
It does bring some interesting ideas to the table, though. The memory cells could give an enterprising doctor on an alien world the necessary information of a species’ viral history. Or a time traveler the ability to read the future of humanity with a good look at a future human’s immune system. Better yet, an understanding on how to vaccinate or cure a populace against some infection an intrepid author dreams up. Makes for good world building detail. I’m hoping though, someone takes this information and writes the story of that stoic memory cell, the one it really deserves. The Harry fucking Hart of the body.
A call to arms, my fellow authors, pens at the ready.
Science in the pursuit of Fiction.