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Difference Between Antigen and Pathogen

Antigen vs Pathogen

Every day we are exposed to different substances, some which are small enough to enter our body, bypass our primary defenses, and even land themselves into the bloodstream. Even with this current exposure to these substances, most of us do not become sick and are still able to perform our daily activities. Some people even feel as if they have never been sick, and claim that they are feeling great and healthy. Some may just feel a little feverish or develop fever spikes during the first exposure to a substance, and afterward, feel fine. Thus, a question develops, why do these things occur?

We are talking here about disease transmission and immune response. The substances I am referring to in the opening statement may well refer to those harmful organisms or pathogenic substances that are able to get inside the body. For those who do not know, our body is equipped with a lot of defenses. Our skin, the liquid excreted through the pores and openings, and as well as some internal protective structures such as the lining our intestines, are considered as the primary defenses in our body.

When a harmful organism is able to bypass these defenses, then it is the role of our specialized cells to act. These cells look for foreign or invading substances and try to deal with them, until they are familiarized by the body and will not cause any problems afterwards. With this, the presence of an antigen will alert the body to mobilize and deal with the invading organism and prevent it from affecting normal functioning.

I believe that you might have noticed the words pathogen and antigen in the previous paragraphs. Some of you might have already discerned the difference between the two, while others may be a little bit confused. But do not worry because I will explain the differences between the two.

A pathogen is any foreign organism (not a part of the body) that invades or is present inside the body, mainly in the bloodstream. A pathogen is also something that causes harm to the body and affects normal functioning. Simply speaking, it is an agent that causes a disease to its host. Examples would be bacteria, virus, or fungi.

On the other hand, an antigen is short for antibody generator. It is not an organism, but rather, a molecule attached to a foreign organism that activates an antibody response. This means that an antigen triggers the response of different antibodies depending on its match, like a lock-and-key. Usually, antigens are located in the cell walls of bacteria, or in the outer coating of other foreign organisms.

You can read more about this since only basic details are provided here.

Summary:

1. Our immune system protects us from foreign organisms or pathogens that can cause diseases.

2. A pathogen is a harmful organism that can cause a disease to its host.

3. An antigen is a molecule that triggers an antibody response.


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