Author: Riya Kathpalia
From: New Delhi, India
Our immunity saves us from so many diseases such as autoimmunity, cancer and various allergies. This is all possible because of the presence of antibodies in our immune system. What are antibodies precisely? Biologically, they are the protective proteins called immunoglobulin. B cells and antibodies together provide one of the most important functions of immunity, which is to recognise an invading antigen and to produce a tremendous number of protective proteins that scour the body to remove all traces of that antigen. When an alien substance enters the body, the immune system is able to recognise it as foreign because molecules on the surface of the antigen differ from those found in the body. It is when the role of antibodies comes in, they make sure to eliminate all the remote substances and protect us. The foreign substances are called ANTIGENS which are bind by the antibodies. Once the binding process begins, antibody production continues for several days until all antigen molecules are removed. Antibodies remain in circulation for several months, providing extended immunity against that particular antigen.
For humans to come into an era of vaccinating the antibodies was bought in by a man called Edward Jenner. An innovation that has likely saved more lives than any other medical advancement. Even today as we go through the pandemic, we realise that our immunity is just not a part of our body, it's actually protecting us from all the remote invasions which are capable of making us suffer from several harmful diseases. Still, many scientists out there are trying to make a perfect and ideal vaccine which would provide our immune system the protein to fight the crown shaped and RNA based virus, corona. As for the different kinds of immunities, there exists innate immunity and adaptive immunity.
INNATE IMMUNITY- It consists of physical, chemical and cellular defences against pathogens. The main purpose of the innate immune response is to immediately prevent the spread and movement of foreign pathogens throughout the body.
ADAPTIVE IMMUNITY- It is only found in vertebrates. The adaptive immune response is specific to the pathogen presented. It is meant to attack non-self pathogens but can sometimes make errors and attack itself. When this happens, autoimmune diseases can develop (e.g., lupus, rheumatoid arthritis).
SIGNIFICANCE OF IMMUNOLOGY
The field of immunology has changed the lives of people drastically. It is responsible for increasing the life expectancy and controlled death toll in past several years. Diseases like cancer have got a cure just because of the existence of the study of our immune system. Researchers all over the world dedicate their careers to understanding these interactions, with much success. Many viruses such as ebola , AIDS and corona have been fortunately defeated by the discovery of specific antibodies (protein) vaccines which provide maximum protection with minimum side effects.
Lastly, immunology is a very wide subject in regard to everything that occurs within our body. Extensive research is still going on and hopefully the advancement in the subject would rewrite the medical history.
About the Author: Riya Kathpalia
Riya is a junior in high school. She is interested in medicine and biology and wants to pursue a career in the respective subjects. She hopes that the epistemology of the evolving discoveries in the field of Science reaches everyone out there!
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and- planetary-sciences/immunology https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/ fimmu.2019.00684/full https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is- Immunology.aspx