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Difference Between Active and Passive Immunity

Active vs Passive Immunity

Throughout the world, people are now more aware of the dangers of viral outbreaks and the effects to humanity. All of us were aghast to hear or even read reports of previous viral epidemics that have plagued different countries. Their ability to cause damage to the body is very serious indeed. Nevertheless, doctors are in constant search for ways to combat these viruses. They are always looking for ways for boosting a person’s immune system to prevent outbreaks from occurring again. They are taking into consideration an individual’s own immunity.

Now, you might ask, what is immunity? It indicates your body’s ability to fight pathogens or foreign organisms from causing damage to your body. It involves your immune system and its primary defense, considered as antibodies. Antibodies come in different types and they will attack any foreign compound that comes into your body.

Furthermore, your immunity is divided into two major types, active and passive immunity. Both types are also divided further into sub-types, which are, active-natural, active-artificial, passive-natural, and passive-artificial immunity. The differences will be discussed here.

First of all, active immunity indicates that you directly form antibodies upon contact with an antigen, which is another term for foreign organisms that cause reactions to the body’s defense mechanisms. Only with the presence of antigens will your body form such antibodies.

In active-natural immunity, a direct exposure to disease conditions, such as measles, will enable your body to ‘memorize’ this antigen and then create antibodies. This will prevent you from contracting measles again. On the other hand, in active-artificial immunity, you are given live-attenuated antigens for your body to form antibodies to attack the antigens. For example, a vaccine to prevent hepatitis B would be given to you beforehand for your body to prevent the actual disease from occurring.

Take into consideration that in active immunity, your body itself is making the antibodies to protect you.

In passive immunity, individuals do not have the antibodies, but rather, are passed down to them naturally or through human intervention. The antibodies given are already working and can protect the recipient from illness.

In passive-natural, there is a direct transfer of antibody from one person to another without any conscious effort. One very good example for this kind of immunity is the transfer of antibodies from a mother to her baby during its development in the womb. When the baby is born, it is protected from antigens for a specific time. In passive-artificial immunity, a person is given antibodies through medical means, such as, an immuno-suppressed individuals receiving antibodies through intravenous therapy.

Summary:

1. Active immunity indicates the formation of antibodies through direct exposure to an antigen.

2. Active immunity is divided into 2 subtypes, active-natural and active-artificial.

3. Passive immunity means that antibodies are passed down to a recipient, even without exposure to an antigen.

4. Passive immunity has 2 subtypes, passive-natural and passive-artificial.


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