The Fight of the Century

Fight of the Century: McGregor vs ? “McGregor UFC189” by Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Sorry for the clickbait. This one’s not about McGregor.

But there is a fight that’s happening every minute of every day.   

That is the Fight for Your Life: Your Body vs. The Common Cold.  

Who’s your bet on?


Viruses – These Stupid, Sneaky Little Things

The thing is, we know exactly what the common cold is. It’s the result of these stupid little things called viruses. These stupid little things.

But don’t get the feeling that viruses enjoy making you sick. They really don’t care if it’s you, your dog, your cat, your lemon tree, your teacher, bacteria…they pretty much infect anything that is alive – heck, viruses even infect other viruses! Their whole goal in life is to invade something so they can use it to make millions and millions of copies of themselves.  

Did you know trees have their own viruses? “Fruit Tree Cancer” by Hans is in the Public Domain, CC0

Viruses are sneaky little things too. They’re like James Bond in a way. Nations send armies to track Bond down, but he’s got so many tools at his disposal to escape. He can hide, sabotage enemy weapons or choose to one-handedly wipe out a whole army. Except in your case, your army is your immune system. And Bond is the stupid little thing called a virus.  

James Bond: A virus of all trades. “Army Bomb Blast” by SFC Randall Jackson, Wikimedia Commons is in the Public Domain

But what makes viruses so dangerous is their ability to hide. In a sense, they’re like Kim Kardashian. They have a closet of unlimited clothes. When our private army finally catches them, the virus changes their outfit and escapes.

The game of Hide & Seek between your body and the virus continues.  

Viruses have a closet of unlimited clothes. Once our immune system identifies them, they put on a new coat to infect us again. “Polaroid Coat” by pxhere is in the Public Domain, CC0

Have a Little Faith in Your Immune System

Now at this moment, you might get the feeling that viruses are unstoppable. We’re bound to lose in this war against viruses. We can harness nuclear energy, we can build pyramids, we can send people to the moon. But we still can’t find a cure for the common cold.   

There are 200+ viruses that cause the common cold. All of these have different shapes and sizes. Now add in the fact that each one of these viruses can be wearing a different outfit on any given day. That’s what makes them so terribly hard to track down.  

But you should realise – and appreciate – that your immune system is pretty strong. For 350 days of the year, your private army can reliably fight off viruses without you having to bat an eye.   

The great thing about your army is that it remembers which enemies it has fought against. It’ll remember the virus that is shaped like a cigarette or the virus shaped like a moon landing pod. And when they see them again, defeat is inevitable for the virus.

Viruses come in many shapes – such as this moon-landing-pod shape. “PhageExterior” by AdenosineWikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

In fact, a virus may have already infected you. But because your army recognises the virus, they are able to fight it off. It’s only when a new virus appears that our body takes a longer time. And that’s when we get sick for a few days.  

So next time when you get sick, be thankful that your body is busy fighting the virus. And what can you do? Well, get some rest, cheer on your body and hope for the best.


Shout out to Tanya for the idea on viruses. Want to find out more about how viruses escape our immune system? Click me!


6 Responses to “The Fight of the Century”

  1. I am reading your writing as I am fighting my own cold virus. I couldn’t help but to giggle. Great job!

  2. Jun-Ting Yeung says:

    Thanks! I’m glad the hook worked

  3. Jordii says:

    LOVE this… right from the beginning I was laughing and that kept me wanting to continue reading all the way through. Good easy to understand explanations of the science. Great job!

  4. Jun-Ting Yeung says:

    I hope the balance between fun and science was well maintained!

  5. Murraya Lane says:

    I like how this article uses humour to appeal to the audience. It makes for an enjoyable read whilst also be fun and informative!

  6. Tanya Ghosh says:

    Love your analogies and manner of explanation! Super easy and fun to follow 🙂