Due to COVID-19, we are going through a very harsh winter. The pandemic will be superimposed on seasonal illnesses, and short daylight hours will increase depressive moods. But an interesting proposal appeared – to sleep through the pandemic.
Hibernation could have rid us of most diseases, but it would have led to an unexpected and comical turn.
This option was proposed by Vice, and here’s why: if more than seven billion people on Earth simply decided to go into hibernation, this would help not only wait out the pandemic, but also reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19, ending the coronavirus. Nobody wants to repeat the spring experience of self-isolation, especially after a summer spent in the fresh air and without serious restrictions. “This winter is likely to be challenging for a lot of people,” says Jennifer Veitch, chief scientist at the National Research Council of Canada. Great plan, but there are several problems that experts have told reporters about.
Research on slowing metabolism in humans is underway, but experiments are still far away, which means that this year the new technology will not help us yet. This is being done, for example, by the European Space Agency and NASA, wishing to save money on food, water and air during flights to Mars in the future. By the way, hibernating animals are more resistant to radiation, which means that a person can easily endure it during a long and dangerous journey.
A person has a chance to master hibernation – most of the hibernation genes are present in our genome, and, in theory, they can be activated. This will come in handy in the event of future pandemics, says biologist Lauren Buck of Northern Arizona University. He suggested that if a person with COVID-19 hibernates, it could stop the spread of the disease in his body, since the activity of some viruses depends on biological processes in our bodies. That is, hibernation can be treated.
But if we all go into hibernation, humanity will not be able to develop immunity to coronavirus and other diseases, which means that people will have to sleep all the time.