Published on 27 July 2020.
Many people face the prospect of long-term health impairment after infection by Covid-19. Transhumanist UK calls for an acceleration of research into damage repair mechanisms that can help restore all-round vitality. This research can take advantage of recent breakthroughs in rejuvenation biotechnology and other anti-aging therapies.
Covid-19 causes breathing difficulties, which, alas, can prove fatal. But that’s only the beginning of the damage that the virus can inflict on the human body.
People who survive a Covid-19 infection can end up with several of their organs damaged:
- Due to neurological damage, patients can experience confusion, delirium, and brain seizures
- An increase in blood clots can give rise to stroke, heart attack, or deep vein thrombosis
- Damage to the liver can reduce that organ’s effectiveness in detoxification and protein synthesis
- Even when patients recover from extreme breathing difficulties, their lungs can be left in a significantly weaker state than before.
In short, these patients end up biologically older – being more likely to die, from all causes, than their contemporaries who avoided infection. Any subsequent trauma they happen to experience will be more likely to have a serious impact on their health, and potentially bring them an early death.
It’s even possible that many people who were asymptomatic carriers of the virus – people who gave no outward show of the illness – were left internally weaker as a result.
In response to this risk, society is understandably keen to reduce the chances of people becoming infected. For that reason, lots of effort is being placed on measures to develop vaccines, to improve hygiene, to identify new infections as quickly as possible and isolate these cases, and to adopt practical “social distancing”. Transhumanist UK applauds these initiatives.
However, Transhumanist UK urges that focus should also be given to the field of “damage repair interventions”. This field has grown in importance in recent years as the anti-aging movement has built momentum.
This field depends upon three key insights:
- Aging – our increasing tendency to die as each year passes – is caused by an accumulation of damage throughout our bodies, at the cellular and inter-cellular levels
- Interventions are possible in principle for each category of damage, to restore biological structures to an earlier, more vital state
- The scale and effectiveness of these damage repair mechanisms will be increased by the development of nanotech, biotech, and infotech (part of the ongoing “NBIC convergence”).
Image credit: PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.
These interventions will be an extension of the important principles of preventive and proactive healthcare – addressing issues at an early stage, before they become more complicated and expensive to treat.
The result will be like the regular visits we make to the dental hygienist that reduce the risk of gum and tooth disease – except that the set of diseases prevented and treated by the periodic low-level bodily cleansing and repair will be much wider.
Annual conferences that regularly showcase the latest developments with anti-aging damage repair mechanisms include
- Ending Age-Related Diseases – hosted in New York
- Undoing Aging – hosted in Berlin
- RAADfest – hosted in San Diego or Las Vegas
There are two reasons why these biorejuvenation mechanisms are directly relevant to Covid-19.
First, as covered earlier, Covid infections can cause havoc throughout someone’s body. But rather than accepting this long-term damage as a done deal, anti-aging regards it as something that can be repaired, step-by-step, by a series of interventions. Covid might cause someone to become, in effect, biologically older. But biorejuvenation can make them, in effect, biologically younger again.
Second, someone’s susceptibility to a Covid infection in the first place is related to how much damage their body has already experienced in life. This includes previous damage to the immune system, lungs, heart, liver, or brain. Drugs and other treatments that reduce that damage will, therefore, reduce the chances that someone will have a nasty encounter with the Covid-19 virus.
Indeed, as recently reported by Wired UK, there are some early indications that drugs such as rapamycin and metformin, which appear to slow down aging, can also help people fight off Covid-19.
Covid-19 calls on all of us to be open-minded about options to create a healthier, safer society. Biorejuvenation therapies are likely to prove to be an important part of the answer. But only if society hurries up to develop these therapies in a comprehensive package, available at low-cost to everyone.
Footnote: The topics of healthy longevity and transhumanism will feature in the online VSIM:20 seminar taking place on Wednesday morning (29th July), starting at 7am UK time, which is 9am in the timezone of the host city – Sofia, Bulgaria. For details of the speakers and their topics, click here.