How Immune System Work to Fight Covid 19? – Virus 17

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Fig-01- The summer hat for women, just for illustration

We might wonder why some people could survive after infected of Corona virus, Sar Cov 2, Covid 19?

The simple answer is that because they have “very good” immune system. We have at least 7 component of immune systems:

- antibodies

- white blood cells

- the lymphatic system

- the spleen

- the thymus

- the bone marrow

- the complement system

Of these 7, the white blood cells are a major component of the body's immune system.

Fig-02- White bulb, flowers, just for illustration

White blood cells have sub-type called a Lymphocyte. Sub-type Lymphocyte have crucial cells:

- natural killer cells

- T cells

- B cells

When corona virus infected our body, our immune system produced antibodies and T cells to fight corona virus, Sar Cov 2.

Unfortunately, those who dead, it is because their immune system not react properly, not enough to produce antibodies and no or less respond of T cells to combat corona virus.

These facts are supported by research from several institutions:

- Erasmus University Medical Center and La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI), Holland, by observed 10 infected patients of Covid 19.

- the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne hospital, Australia showed that a 40 years old, healthy woman was able to survive from corona virus infection.

Hope, our own immune system is in “perfect” condition to fight virus, while we are waiting vaccine and drugs.

Cutting Down Trees Due to Fungus Diseases - Gardening and hobby 1

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Chunk of woods

Our neighborhood and some Southern states trees have been attacked by diseases in the last 3 years.

We may know some diseases which could cause sick, and eventually dead of trees. The diseases are:

1) Dutch Elm diseases

The diseases caused by beetle, originally from Europe, and spread in many cities in the USA now days.

2) Armillaria Root Rot

It is a fungal diseases on rotting woods. This kind of fungi may infect living trees as well.

3) Black Knot Disease

A kind of fungi, attack on branches. Spreading from one tree to other trees during rainy season.

Branches and twigs

4) Bur Oak blight

This diseases caused by fungus called Tubakia dryina. We may see spots on leaves, then make leaves fall off the trees.

5) Spruce Decline

Fungus caused bald branches of blue spruce trees, then gradually make branches die, and fall. Diseases spreading to many parts of America.

Wood trunks, ready to pick up

6) Fruit tree diseases

One of well known diseases infects fruit trees is “Apple Scab.” Yes, the fungi caused green or brown spots of apple trees. Fallen leaves in great number may followed by tree death later on.

Moreover, we believed that our trees and neighborhood trees are infected by diseases called as “white powder.”

White spots are everywhere: roots, trunk, branches and twigs. We tried to save some trees by fungicide. It seems not work well.

Do you have trees in your backyard or garden? Do they have diseases?

Blue Crab from Gulf of Mexico

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

 Small size blue crab

We just got discount offer of boiled crabs from our neighborhood restaurant, bargaining price a big size crab US$ 12 a dozen.

Original price is US$ 36 a dozen, so we got a lot of discount, at least 70% of market price.

Many people love crabs or crustaceans or seafood, but, except fish, I got “allergic” if consume too much.

The crab is come from Gulf of Mexico and Western Atlantic Ocean, and called in different names:

- the blue crab

- Atlantic blue crab

- Chesapeake blue crab

Fresh blue crabs

Their population are spreading from Canada (Nova Scotia) to Maine (USA) to Latin America (Argentina).

Adult crab breeding in offshore waters, then larvae swim into coastal lines, and even into estuary waters to grow to consume size:

- weight, 5 to 16 oz (142 to 454 gr)

- length, include claws is 7.1 to 7.9 inches (18 to 20 cm).

Do you like crab? Why?

Two Countries with Zero New Cases of Covid 19 – Virus 16

Saturday, August 22, 2020

 Two Peacocks, just for illustration

Americans have faced worse Corona virus crisis compared to some other countries such as:

- Brazil

- India

- Russia

- Mexico.

As of today, not like other industry countries, gloomy data shown on pandemic of Covid 19 in the USA:

- 5.6 million infected cases

- 174.6 thousand total deaths

- 171 infected cases per 1 million people

However, the virus had affected to almost all countries of the world with 23.3 million total infection cases and 806 thousand death.

The wall art, illustration only

Luckily, two countries have no new cases in recently, they are:

- Saint Lucia

- Mauritius

Saint Lucia is an island in Caribbean, no dead record due to Covid 19. The total cases 25 only. No new infection cases recently.

Population is 183,000, thus 0 (zero) cases per 1 million people. The lowest in the world.

Another country with no new cases of Corona virus is Mauritius. You might not know this country where about.

Mauritius is a country consists of 16 islands, locates in Indian ocean, by the coast off Madagascar.

Total population is about 1.27 million. In term of Covid 19, total infected cases are 344 with total death was 10. Hence, almost 0 (zero) cases per 1 million people

These two countries have a very good health system to overcome Covid 19 pandemic crisis. Industry countries such as USA should learn from these two developing nations.

Hope, Corona virus disappear soon.

Why Box Turtles Come in My Backyard?

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Small size of box turtle

Box turtle is not ocean turtle, but considered as a pond turtle. The turtle might be found in areas such as:

- shrubby grasslands

- woodlands

- forest edges

- rainfall or watery areas

- stream or small river

We may distinguish sex different in box turtles by see their eye and size. Red eyes for males, and yellow brown eyes for females.

Males larger than females. These turtles could reach 5 inches (13 cm) long, and 2 pounds (1 kg) weight. You may easily handle this turtle with your hand. I mean with one hand only. 

Shell of right up a box turtle

Why Box Turtles Come in My Backyard? There are many reasons, one of them that my backyard is close to their habitat.

It is common to box turtle to roaming around, especially in summer season. However, they will travel no more than 1 mile (1.6 km) from their home.

Bottom (upside down) shell of a box turtle

Summer is the peak time to lay eggs. Box turtle may lay eggs about 5, but could be 11 eggs in one season.

A box turtle crawl on the grass of backyard

Incubating period for eggs to hatch is 60 days, about the same incubating periods with sea turtles.

Unfortunately, there are many predators for both eggs and new hatch-ling box turtles, some of predators:

- skunks,

- snakes

- owls

- coyotes

- foxes

- raccoon

- chipmunks

Have you seen box turtles? Where? 

Stray Cats in Our Neighborhood

Tuesday, August 18, 2020


A stray cat on the bushes

I always see many pets stray around our neighborhood. Many of them are dogs and cats.

In case of cats, there are plenty of breeds walking around neighborhood. Some popular breeds are:

- American shorthair

- Himalayan

- Birman

- Abyssian

- Bengal

- Persian

- Siamese

Our house often visited by cats, but we did not considered as “stray” cats since they came a while then disappeared. They may come back near future. They are guests.

Cat’s position ready to “attack?”

The stray pets are hanging around in the certain spots of neighborhood for several days, even weeks.

Photo from behind cat

Pets are believed very difficult to survive in the wild habitat, since they are dependent to their adopt parents (owners).

It is said that we should report about stray pets or animals to the following institutions:

- animal control

- a local shelter or rehabilitation

What are you doing when you saw stray pets in your neighborhood?

Can Insulin be Produced from Laboratory Dish? - Diabetes 25

Saturday, August 15, 2020


Illustration purpose only

We have talked about role of pancreatic beta cells to produce insulin. These are examples of posts relate to beta cells:

Why Pancreas of Type 2 Diabetic Persons Produce Less Insulin? - Diabetes 3 | Tanza Erlambang Update

Could Medicines Affect on Pancreas to Produce Insulin? - Diabetes 4 | Tanza Erlambang Update

How to Activate Damaged Beta Cell in Pancreas to Produce Insulin? - Diabetes 21 | Tanza Erlambang Update

Recently, researchers have tried to develop beta cells from human stem cells in a dish. It is expected that these beta cells will secrete insulin in response to a given glucose.

First attempted was failed, it is because stem cells interrupted to grow to be pancreas beta cells in the let’s say Petri dish.

Succulent plants in the pot, just for illustration

Scientists knew that specific receptor protein called estrogen related receptor γ (ERRγ) abundant in beta cells. Then scientists injected this receptor protein to improve process of cells maturation in the lab.

Surprisingly, the mature beta cells produce insulin in the Petri dish. For further test, then, the beta cells are transplanted into mice (diabetic mice).

The result is promising that beta cells secrete insulin to respond the high blood sugar level in the mice.

The next steps to find out:

- how to transplant the Petri dish’s beta cells into human being

- can beta cells be function to produce insulin to control sugar level in human?

At least, we see light to help diabetes patients, especially type 1 diabetic patients where their pancreas stop to produce insulin at all.

We are waiting the great finding to treat diabetes in the near future!

Orange Speckle Canna is a Summer Flower

Thursday, August 13, 2020

 Pretty orange Canna flowers

I saw Canna flowers have many colors in my city garden, some of them:

- blood red or bright red

- pale yellow

- bright yellow

- orange

- red

- combinations of pink, salmon and apricot

Canna usually blooming in the Summer until Fall. It is reasonable why this flower growing well under full sun and moisture conditions.

We can see Canna bloom for many times in a year, depend on weather conditions. Fading flowers might be replaced by new ones, thus stalks live two seasons long.

Since flowers look bold, and one of flamboyant summer, it is good to have the Canna in our garden.

Flowers of Canna look bold and beautiful.

It is said to grow and care Canna is easy, from bulb to produce bright and pretty flowers.

This flower is found in the North and South America. The flower abundant in some parts of:

- Argentine

- South Carolina

- Florida

- Caribbean Islands

Petal of Canna flowers

In some developing countries, in addition as a gift for certain special days such as father’s day, this plant also used as a source of foods.

We find starch, called as achira in the bulb and rhizomes of Canna plant. The starch be processed as noodles. A very high quality noodle.

Have you seen Canna flowers? What color do you like?

Tame Ducks are Walking on City Lake Sides

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

 Fig-1. Three young ducks

We found many ducks, especially young ones play around at the one side of city lake peacefully, no predators and no hunters for sure.

In the wild nature, these ducks live in the quite variety areas, include in the:

- coastal marshes

- bays and bayous

- beaver ponds

- rice fields

- flooding parts of woodland or forest

At least, there are 3 common ducks living in the nature of Louisiana:

1) Mallard

The males are characterized by green heads as you may see two ducks at above photo (Fig-1). Actually, Mallard is migratory ducks, millions from North to South in Mississippi rivers during winters.

Fig-2. Two ducks, male and female

2) Mottled

Bills of Mottled is yellow for male, while olive green for female. The ducks are non migratory, usually stay in coastal marshes all seasons.

Fig-3. Male of Mallard duck.

3) Wood ducks

The habitat of these ducks is in the swamp areas of forests. Since timbers have been harvested almost completely, the ducks may be found in many places include in the Mississippi rivers. 

Fig-4. Lonely duck

Interestingly, ducks watching and hunting are part of important activities in many parts of America. About 11.6 million ducks are harvested per year in the USA.

Some best states to watch and hunt ducks are:

- Louisiana

- Mississippi

- Nebraska

- Minnesota

- North Dakota

Have you watch or hunt duck in nature? Where? Did you taste duck meat?

What is mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine? - Virus 15

Friday, August 7, 2020

                                                         Painting at my neighborhood

As we might know that messenger ribonucleuc acid (mRNA) play crucial role to supply information to DNA in protein synthesis to regulate cells and tissues in our body.

Unfortunately, virus, in this case Covid-19 “manipulate” RNA to enable to enter cells, then duplicate itself. Consequence of this activity:

- infected people to be sick or dead

- if virus infected lung, then patient to be difficult to breath.

Vaccine is one of effective methods to control virus. Traditionally, vaccine was made by weaken or killed virus, then injected into body to stimulate immune system to produce antibody.

The traditional method has taken long time (could be years and even a decade) to develop, because of:

- make sure that weaken or dead virus be able to stimulate immune system to produce antibody

- we must certain that virus is dead or weak, not strong enough to infect human.

- search suitable media for virus to well growing

- need large scale to test effectiveness and safety of vaccine.

In 1990, scientist develop mRNA vaccine which contain viral protein. This viral protein could trick immune system to “think” that body is attacked by real virus. Then, immune system responses by producing antibody to fight virus.

In case of Covid-19, the technique is quite advance where:

- additional certain substance into mRNA to reduce negative effects of vaccine such as inflammation.

- using spike protein, a kind of protein for virus to enter cells. Thus, antibody result from vaccine to be effective to combat Covid-19.

The mRNA vaccine shown good result in first and second clinical trials, hope, will be the best result in the final trial.