FAQ – Covid-19 Moderna Booster for 2023

September 2023 – Covid Vaccine UPDATE

Pharmaceutical company Moderna has said that its new vaccine booster works against this new virus variant, and as of September 2023, you can get the booster at your local pharmacy.

Drawing of family wearing masks for fear of Covid
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Here Comes BA.2.86, Maybe

Most of us believe that the Sars-CoV-2 Coronavirus (Covid-19) is behind us and that we can go about our normal daily routines without having to worry about catching it again. Well, maybe that’s true. Then again, maybe not.

A new variant called Pirola, technically labeled BA.2.86 is starting to show its ugly face and according to some sources, it is spreading rapidly around the United States and the world.

So What Exactly is BA.2.86?

Illustration of covid virus superimposed on a globe
Image by Miroslava Chrienova from Pixabay

The BA.2.86 variant was first detected in Denmark and Israel in late August 2023 and has since been found in several other countries, including the United States.

According to researchers, this particular virus is a subvariant of Omicron, the most dominant variant of SARS-CoV-2. BA.2.86 is more transmissible than the other Omicron subvariants.

How Transferrable is this Variant?

3D anination of coronavirus with enevelope
3D medical animation of Spike S protein, HE protein, viral envelope, and helical RNA. Wikipedia Commons

Scientists say that it may be more resistant to the current vaccines and antibody treatments. This is because BA.2.86 has a number of mutations in its spike protein, which is the part that the virus uses to attach to your cells. However,

How severe is BA.2.86?

It is still too early to say whether this variant is more severe than the others. More studies are needed to determine its severity. However, some early studies have suggested that it may be more resistant to current vaccines and antibody treatments.

How can I protect myself from BA.2.86?

Maintain the standard methods of keeping clean, which include washing your hands frequently, carrying an antibacterial cleanser, avoiding large crowds, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick, to name a few.

Additionally, get vaccinated and boosted. Vaccines are still very effective at preventing serious illnesses and hospitalization from COVID-19, even against the new variants.

although most people have stopped using masks, if you feel more comfortable wearing one when outside, by all means, do, especially when in crowded areas.

Who are Most Affected?

Granddaughter with her grandfather
Photo by Kampus Production, Pexels

As with all the Covid-19 viruses or more generally speaking, with any viruses, if you are elderly, have health issues, or have a compromised immune system, you should be vigilant and take all the recommended precautions.

Additionally, when any new disease is circulating in your area, you should also speak to your medical provider for any additional precautions you may need to take.


Staying attentive to Covid is nothing new. Even though a new variant has materialized, that doesn’t mean you have to run to your bed and hide. Research is determining that this virus may be more transmissible than the previous subvariants, and possibly more resistant to the current vaccines, but as research continues on the BA.2.86 virant, it may turn out that it is not as contagious as the other. It is just a wait-and-see game.

The general recommendations are to just stay vigilant and maintain the Covid rules of keeping clean and safe, especially if you are in the high-risk health category.

What Are Monoclonal Antibodies?

What is the Difference Between Natural Antibodies and Monoclonal Antibodies?

Medical Lab Technician
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are similar to antibodies produced naturally by the body in response to an infection, but these guys are made artificially in a laboratory. That’s where the term monoclonal comes from. It means they are antibodies created in a lab and are cloned.  

Same as natural human antibodies, monoclonal antibodies are designed to resist a virus by recognizing the spike protein in its cell’s outer coat. This makes it quite convenient for lab scientists and technicians to target a specific virus. In this case, Covid. 

In doing so, the antibodies block the ability of the virus to replicate inside the body, giving the immune system more time to mount its response against COVID-19 infections. 

Who Does Monoclonal Antibodies Help the Most?

Monoclonal antibody infusions are particularly helpful in patients with compromised immune systems, who would find it difficult for their bodies to naturally resist the virus, but it helps healthy people who have caught the virus also, as many have stated that then start feeling better after about 24 hours.

Are Monoclonal Antibodies Only Used for Covid?

Lab technicians looking at blood samples
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

No. Other monoclonal antibodies work as immunotherapies (treatment that helps the immune system fight cancer), as they allow your body’s immune system to react better, which then allows your body to more effectively find and attack tumor cells.    Show Source Texts

Some monoclonal antibodies are attached to a chemotherapy drug to give treatment directly to cancer cells, avoiding healthy cells. Once attached, antibodies may cause other parts of the body’s immune system to destroy cells that harbor an antigen (molecules that induce an immune response)

Once attached, antibodies draw in immune cells to destroy the tumor cells. The antibody latches onto a particular molecule on the surface of a problem cell.   

Are Monoclonal Antibodies Connected to Other Drugs When Infused into a Patient?

As previously mentioned, they are made in a lab to combat a specific infection. They can be injected naturally, called Naked mAbs which means that they are not attached to other drugs such as Brentuximab, which is a chemotherapy drug used to fight cancer cells.

How monoclonal antibodies can be injected into the body is broken down into essentially three categories:

      • Naked Monoclonal Antibodies: These work as a solo drug without any attachments or connections to other drugs. This treatment category is the most commonly used. 
      • Conjugated Monoclonal Antibodies: An additional drug is added with the mAbs, such as with a chemotherapy treatment or a radioactive compound, both used mostly when fighting cancer. 
      • Bispecific Monoclonal Antibodies: Used to target two different proteins at the same time. 

Side Effects

When the antibodies are injected into the body, usually intravenous, an allergic reaction may occur, but these side effects are not life-threatening. Some of the effects a patient may incur are fever, headache, nausea, low blood pressure, and/or rashes.

Final Thoughts

Lab-designed antibodies are ongoing research, but what has been done so far has proven to be worthwhile and fairly successful. Most promising is that researchers can create the antibodies to target specific pathogens depending upon what disease they are working on, such as Covid or cancer. 

Antibodies may be designed to attach to various molecules in the body, such as turning off an immune response when it is overreacting; this phenomenon, which has also occurred with some Covid-19 patients, is called a cytokine storm, which are proteins that control the growth of immune cells. They help the body’s immune system to do its job properly.

You Never Got COVID? How So?

Illustration of woman fighting a covid spike routingWhat Human Factors are Fighting the Coronavirus?

Lisa has never gotten Covid, yet everyone else in her household has been infected, except her husband who seems to be in the same questionable situation as Lisa. We are saying ‘questionable’ because researchers have yet to determine the reasons why people such as Lisa and her husband appear to be immune to the Covid disease.

The Preliminaries

Woman washing her hands with antibacterial soap
Photo by Visual Stories || Micheile from Pexels

Before we continue, as a reference point, let’s go over what the CDC has recommended that we all do to minimize Covid infection.

          • Get vaccinated
            • Wear a mask
            • Wash hands frequently
            • Stay six feet from others
            • Avoid crowded places
            • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
            • Take immune booster vitamins

Do we follow all these guidelines? Some do, but many of us don’t adhere to all these rules and some items in this list are just not followed as diligently as they should be, and Lisa and Steve are no exception.

They both have been vaccinated and triple-boosted with the Pfizer vaccine and they take immune booster vitamins. Namely, vitamin D, C, and zink tablets daily, as well as making it a point to eat as healthy as they can. They do not wear masks religiously and have gone to social gatherings where no one else was wearing a mask.

The Covid Quandry of Infections and Non-Infections in the Household. But How Common is It?

Microscopic view of the COVID virus
Microscopic view of the COVID virus showing the spike proteins

It is not that hard to imagine that some folks are not getting infected as routinely as others, but here is the real dilemma. Lisa and Steve’s children, now adults, have both gotten the disease, and they all were living in the same house when the children got it. Yes, extra precautions were taken. The kids did wear masks and avoid close contact with their parents.

Even more troublesome for the researchers if they were studying this event is that their daughter’s boyfriend was living in the house as well and was PCR-diagnosed positive as well.

But the quandary doesn’t end there. The boyfriend didn’t even know he had covid until after their daughter started showing systems. That’s right. He was asymptomatic and never felt a thing.

Covid Immunity – Here’s What They are Saying

T-Cell Immunity

A study on 54 people released in January showed that a high amount of T-cells that were produced when people got colds helped support immunity from the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid) infection.

Dr. Rhia Kund, from the Imperial National Heart & Lung Institute,  in London said “We found that high levels of pre-existing T cells, created by the body when infected with other human coronaviruses like the common cold, can protect against COVID-19 infection.

A Genetic Immunity?

Granddaughter with her grandfather
Photo by Pexels, Kampus Production

A study is currently being conducted to determine how much genetic inheritance a person might have that can be an obstacle to being infected with the coronavirus.

There are specific criteria for those in the study, including confirmation via lab testing that the subject has never had COVID-19, that these individuals have had substantial exposure to the disease, and that they did not use any protection such as masks. Additionally, they were never vaccinated.

Members of the COVID Human Genetic Effort at Rockefeller University, part of an international conglomerate of researchers are working to discover the genetic influences that individuals may have that fight against the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

It is worth noting that this is not the first time a pandemic of this magnitude has infiltrated human society, and yet, the whole human population did not cease to exist.

Such is the case with the Spanish Flu in 1919. Many died, but many more survived. Maybe this study will unveil some new data that scientists will show that genetics does play an important role in Covid (and other viruses) infections, as well as possibly additional knowledge on longevity. Indeed, Steve’s father, who was born in 1901 lived to the lively age of 100.

The ‘O’ Factor

Ilustration of Human Cells
Photo: Bigstock

According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, individuals who have type ‘O’ blood may have more of an immune deterrence from the coronavirus infection. Other studies have concluded similar results.

The study covered over 225,000 patients and those in the O-blood category had a 2.1% chance of getting a covid infection, which was found to be the lowest probability of all the blood groups.

So What’s the Conclusion?

There isn’t any. At least not yet. These studies will probably go on for decades, but with said, one thing is a fact. That the worst of Covid is over and now, those that get it, provided there are no external factors that might compromise their health, such as an immune deficiency, will most likely just get a cold. And now, we can only hope for the best going forward.

What are Human Cells and What Do They Do?

Ilustration of Human Cells
Artist rendering of human cells. Bigstock.

If you don’t have cells in your body then you are dead.  Sorry for this unexpected scare but that is the plain and simple truth. However, not to worry.

You do have cells and so does every living thing on this planet! 

With that said, let’s talk about what makes cells turn us into living, breathing organisms.  Additionally, we will discuss how our cells can be altered when attacked by foreign entities (viruses) and subsequently cause them to act differently, resulting in a danger to the host (you). Let’s start from the beginning. 

What is a Cell?


Each cell has its own sets of components that contain the materials that sustain life and each cell has a specific job to do, which in turn, keeps us healthy. 
Cell illustrationThe structure of an animal cell. Eukaryotic cell structures show the nucleus, cytoplasm, Golgi apparatus, mitochondria, membrane, centrosome, and ribosome.

The two components that many of us are familiar with are the cell membrane, which is the separation between the interior and exterior of the cell, and the nucleus, which is referred to as the control room of the cell. You can learn more about the parts of a cell here.

Inside a cell, there are many different types of organelles (parts within the cell). For example, they have proteins that help you digest food, while others keep your heart pumping blood. Some cells produce new cells for growth and then some replace dead or injured cells. There are also cells designed to assist in muscle movement, respiration, and reproduction.

Types of Cells

Since cells are classified by their function, let’s take a look at what each category is designed to do.

Nerve Cells

active nerve cell in human neural system
Active nerve cells in the human neural system. Bigstock.








Nerve cells are the brain’s messengers that send signals to other parts of the body. They also form new thoughts in our brains and produce memories. Damaged nerve cells cause cell deterioration, which can result in a wide range of symptoms.

For example, you can be subjected to dementia, neurological issues, tremors, seizures, and to name a few. Sufficient nerve cell damage in any part of the body is one of the leading causes of disability in adults.

Proper exercise and eating brain foods such as fatty fish, salmon, trout, and sardines are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are very beneficial for brain growth and overall health. Eating the right foods helps reduce oxidation in the brain. By reducing oxidation (removing free radicals), you will have fewer damaged brain cells.

Blood cells

Red blood cells and White blood cells, leukocytes inside an artery, or vein. Arterial cross-section blood flow, 3D illustration. Bigstock.








Blood cells are part of the circulatory system and carry oxygen and nutrients, like sugars and proteins to different parts of your body. These cells fight off infection by destroying bacteria and viruses.

There are three types of blood cells: erythrocytes (red blood cells), leukocytes (white blood cells), and platelets.

Erythrocytes carry oxygen throughout the body, while leukocytes play an important role in fighting infection. Platelets help your blood clot to stop bleeding when you get injured or cut.

Muscle Cells

Muscle cells produce and store energy for the body. They’re called muscle cells because they provide muscle strength and power.

Cells that Produce New Cells

These are also called stem cells because they can change into other types of cells. One example is a skin stem cell, which can create red blood cells, white blood cells, and other types of skin cells.

Cells that Fight Infections and Regulate Metabolism

The immune system is made up of several different types of cells. White blood cells (leukocytes) are the most important type of cell involved in fighting infections (mutated cells that can cause damage).

The white blood cells live in a network that surrounds your body and then move to where they’re needed to fight invaders, but sometimes they need help, as you need to have a sufficient amount of antibodies to fight off infections. Viruses are, quite simply, infections in your body.

External Help to the Rescue

Vaccines such as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine inject antibodies into your body to help fight off these mutations. In the case of the Covid virus spike proteins – are defective cells that try to attack your healthy cells and mutate them. As more and more healthy cells become defective, you may begin to feel ill. 
The other type of cell that fights infections is the neutrophil. Neutrophils are larger than white blood cells and can kill more invaders than antibody-producing cells can.

There are cells called a macrophage, which helps regulate metabolism by removing waste from your bloodstream. These cells also help produce antibodies to fight invaders, such as keratinocytes that protect us from injury.

Cell Summary

Cells are microscopic entities that are made up of proteins. They are the lifeline of all living organisms and are categorized by the functions they perform. There are many types of cells, grouped by their function. Muscle cells, blood cells, and nerve cells to name a few.

The COVID-19 virus contains a series of defective cells that contain spike proteins that attack healthy cells and cause them to mutate. This action diminishes the healthy cell’s function and subsequently causes your body’s health to deteriorate. 

To keep these healthy cells from being mutated, white blood cells send antibodies to block the viral cells from attacking them, but sometimes, more antibodies need to be injected into your body (via a vaccine) to fight off these mutations, such as for the flu or Covid.