This lesson will help you distinguish between several different types of immunity. This includes passive immunity, active immunity, naturally acquired immunity and artificially acquired immunity.
The Two Parts of the Immune System
Every team needs a back-up plan. If the first plan fails to do the job entirely or just doesn't manage to do a good enough job, well, there needs to be something else to back it up. In the case of your body, your primary defense system involves components of the innate immune system, such as your skin, cells like neutrophils and so forth. However, if the innate immune system fails or needs some extra help, then the second part of the immune system, the adaptive immune system, kicks in to high gear.
The Adaptive Immune System
The adaptive immune system is exactly that - it's adaptive, meaning it can adapt to a specific threat, or antigen. For example, if the opposing team brings in a substitute, the entire team can adapt to that new substitute's unique threat. However, the adaptive immune system takes time to develop; there's a lag of sorts, meaning the trainer of the team needs to coach his players on how to adapt to an antigen, or the recognizable and visible aspect of a threat, like a bacterium's surface receptors. The good thing is once the players are trained well enough, they develop a good memory with respect to that threat.
This means that whenever they encounter that substitute, or specific antigen or threat, again, they will know exactly what to do with it and will not have to waste time training for it. Basically, the lag is only really significant the first time around, not as much thereafter. All of this is in contrast to the innate immune system, which suffers no lag, has no memory and isn't trained to respond to a specific threat; it goes after everything that moves.
Active and Passive Immunity
Your team, the adaptive immune system, can become really good at what it does in one of two major ways. Recall, that this team's role is to be coached to recognize an opponent, or a certain tactic used by that player or pathogen, train for that situation, remember that situation if it ever comes up again and act to neutralize that unique scenario so they can win. The team's coach can go about doing this by recruiting naturally talented players. You know the kind. They basically don't have to train; they're that good. It's just something they're born with.
This type of immunity is called passive immunity, which is a type of short-term immunity that occurs via the transfer of antibodies to an individual devoid of them. The antibodies are proteins that are like the strategic plays, which are used to neutralize a player, or pathogen. If you get these antibodies from your mother, naturally, or from an injection, artificially, then your body didn't really train to get them. It was just given to you. In the case of the natural route, you were born with it and your body, therefore, intrinsically knew the plays it had to come up with in order to neutralize a threat.
However, the downside is that nothing comes easy in life and this form of immunity, or training, is lost very quickly. To become really good at something, you, your body, needs to undergo lots and lots of training, sometimes referred to as active immunity, which is a type of long-term immunity gained by infection or vaccination. Basically, here the trainer makes you sweat, literally. If you ever got infected by something you were never exposed to before, you probably got a fever and some sweats.
Well, during that process, your body trained really hard and learned really well how to fight off that pathogen, threat or player. Once trained, the antibodies, the strategic plays, are released by your body to kill the pathogen. If that pathogen ever enters your body again, you won't get that fever and you won't have to sweat and train like crazy again because your body already developed a memory, or action plan, to recognize and neutralize that same exact threat the second time around.
Natural and Artificial Acquired Active Immunity
Now, active immunity has two components, just like passive immunity: natural and artificial. Your coach can get you to train for an opposing player, or pathogen, via one of two ways to make you and the team stronger, the first of which is through natural training - good food, lots of cardio and weight-lifting. This is called naturally acquired active immunity and is when a person is exposed to a live pathogen for which their body develops an immunological response and memory. Basically, if you've ever gotten sick from anything, then you got naturally acquired active immunity since your body had to train to produce antibody plays and memory on its own.
However, if you went to get a shot to boost your immune system, like some players get shots of steroids to boost their training, then you underwent artificially acquired active immunity, which is when a person is exposed to a weakened, altered or dead form of a pathogen for the development of immunological memory. In this case, you basically get a shot with a weak opponent and train to fight off this opponent, and the next time your body comes across the live, full-strength version of this opponent, you'll be strong enough to fight them off since you will have a set number of antibody plays all ready to go against them.
So, recall that your coach has several tricks up his sleeve. One is passive immunity, which is a type of short-term immunity that occurs via the transfer of antibodies to an individual devoid of them. Another is active immunity, which is a type of long-term immunity gained by infection or vaccination. One component of active immunity is naturally acquired active immunity and is when a person is exposed to a live pathogen for which their body develops an immunological response and memory. The other component is artificially acquired active immunity, which is when a person is exposed to a weakened, altered or dead form of a pathogen for the development of immunological memory.
Following this lesson, you'll be able to:
- Describe how the purpose of the adaptive immune system is different from that of the innate immune system
- Differentiate between active and passive immunity
- Explain the two types of active immunity: naturally acquired active immunity and artificially acquired active immunity