What exactly is an autoimmune disease? How does it weaken the body? Dr. David Agus, author of “The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health,” explains that our bodies are very good at fighting off things that are foreign, but “when that immune response targets something in our own body, that’s when we get in trouble.”
Agus, professor of medicine and the founding director and CEO of the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine at the University of Southern California, says the hope is that “we can get a lot better at targeting just what’s [switched] on, rather than hitting the whole immune system with an atomic bomb.”
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Jonathan Bastian speaks with Agus about the frustration for patients and doctors in tackling autoimmune disease and why they are so tricky to measure and diagnose.
“Given that you’re not sure what you’re treating, it’s almost impossible to develop a treatment,” he says.
Agus does, however, offer an optimistic glimpse into the future, and says there’s an increasing amount of research going into “biomarkers” associated with long COVID, which he hopes “will give us the ability of making a diagnosis.”