Saturday, 20 October 2018

IMMUNITY AND DISEASE NOTE BY ALLEN INSTITUTE

All living things are subject to attack from disease-causing agents. Even bacteria, so small that more than a million could fit on the head of a pin, have systems to defend against infection by viruses. This kind of protection gets more sophisticated as organisms become more complex.


Multicellular animals have dedicated cells or tissues to deal with the threat of infection. Some of these responses happen immediately so that an infecting agent can be quickly contained. Other responses are slower but are more tailored to the infecting agent. Collectively, these protections are known as the immune system. The human immune system is essential for our survival in a world full of potentially dangerous microbes, and serious impairment of even one arm of this system can predispose to severe, even life-threatening, infections.

The human immune system has two levels of immunity: specific and non-specific immunity. Through non-specific immunity, also called innate immunity, the human body protects itself against foreign material that is perceived to be harmful. Microbes as small as viruses and bacteria can be attacked, as can larger organisms such as worms. Collectively, these organisms are called pathogens when they cause disease in the host.

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