UC San Diego Research: Meditation & Immunity
When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, researchers were determined to discover how to help people fight off infections. In February 2020, InnerScience Research Fund partnered with UC San Diego to determine if meditation could protect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Dr. Patel’s research group made a pseudovirus for SARS-CoV-2 that has the same spike protein as active SARS-CoV-2 but replaced the rest of the virus with a red protein reporter. The reporter would allow the ability to track viral dynamics quickly. They developed an “adoptive transfer” experiment where they transferred the meditation effect from humans to lung cells using blood from meditators before and after a week-long meditation retreat. The blood contained factors that were altered after meditation that represent the effect of the mind on the body.
These experiments found a significant decrease in pseudovirus entry into the lung cells that were treated with plasma from advanced meditators. Researchers saw cells that were exposed to meditation block the virus from entry by trapping the virus on the outside of the lung cells. Further research found that heating the plasma disrupts the effect, suggesting a protein may be providing the barricade.
This early research indicates that meditation can boost your immunity by augmenting certain bloodborne factors.
Researchers are now working to discover the critical factor in protecting human cells so that this power may be explored, harnessed, and potentially utilized to manage viral infections.