Are human immune systems able to fight germs from space? Universities of Aberdeen and Exter researchers looked into the immune responses of mammalian cells to various amino acid combinations, so as to mimic what could be encountered in space. These amino acid combinations included ones that are rare on Earth, isovaline and ?-aminoisobutyric acid, though they have been known to exist on meteors and potentially elsewhere in space. Scientists wanted to test whether immune response to germs from other planets or the moon would be less or the same as it is for those already known on Earth.
Researchers used mice to test T-cell responses to these various amino acid combinations. They found that they had a significantly lower immune response to this than they would to germs more common on Earth. Thus, it can be said that humans and other mammals may have difficulty fighting germs either in space or brought to Earth from space.
After the coronavirus pandemic, scientists realized just how susceptible humans are to becoming severely ill from new pathogens, as our immune systems are not able to fight them as effectively as they are with common ones. It may not pose an issue now, but as space travel increases, the introduction of unfamiliar pathogens to humans may increase. Therefore, this study will hopefully help scientists take proper precautions prior to space excursions so as to protect not only the space travelers, but the rest of Earth’s population.