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Antibody Reaction - All of Your Questions Answered

Reviewed by Sandra Freeman, MD
Antibody Reaction - All of Your Questions Answered

What is an antibody reaction? Do you oftentimes ask yourself this question, among others, when it comes to antibodies? Then start getting some answers here.  


Are Antibodies the Same Things as Antibiotics?

 

It is very important for you not to confuse antibodies and antibiotics with each other.  

While antibodies are naturally made by bodies while responding to foreign cells, like viruses or bacteria, antibiotics are made by cultured micro organisms before they are processed and used as drugs to prevent or kill bacteria from coming about. Antibodies aren't effective against viruses, though.  

To be more specific, antibodies are made by lymphocytes after being exposed to certain chemical substances outside of invading organisms. This process is known as an antigen-antibody reaction.  The lymphocytes come from the lymphatic system, which also consists of lymph nodes, lymph vessels, the thymus and the spleen. Other functions of this system would include the processing of fat and oil digestion.  


What are the Outside Layers of Bacteria and Viruses?

 

The outside layers of bacteria are called the cell walls and are chemically made out of carbohydrates and proteins. The outside layers of viruses, on the other hand, are called the capsid and are chemically made out of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.  Molecule-wise, antibodies generally look like a Y and have a reactive site on each branch's tip, so that the antibodies can attach themselves onto antigens. This could make infecting microorganisms stick together, as well as neutralize them until other white cells deal with them or take them away.  

This antibody production basically explains the normal recovery of a person from a viral or bacterial infection, the immunity of a person from a subsequent viral or bacterial infection, and the susceptibility of a person to various other microorganisms, in general.  


Is Immunity the Same Thing as Resistance?  

 

Immunity refers to a person or an organism that is protected by antibodies from infecting organisms. Resistance, on the other hand, refers to a microorganism's ability to withstand antibiotic effects.  In other words, resistance refers to a trait that a microorganism might have as opposed to a chemical property or a weakness of an antibiotic. It isn't related to the organism that might get infected, either. Additionally, because a resistance to antibiotics can be based on genetics, some people become scared that resistant strain populations might start appearing out of nowhere. 


What is the Antigen-Antibody Reaction For, Then?  

 

The antigen-antibody reaction can be seen as the basis for various vaccinations and immunization programs, where exposure to a dead, weakened or related pathogenic organism brings out immune responses similar to those of a regular bodily reaction to viruses. Both the vaccine exposure and the natural infection could result in an active immunity.  

Conversely, a passive immunity can be seen as a basis for antibodies that are readily available. Babies, for example, can get these from the milk or bloodstream of their mothers. Passive immunity can be received through serum, as well, which can be derived from the pathogen-exposed blood of an organism.  If it would be more developed or refined, though, the overall specificity of an antigen-antibody reaction would be even more useful to humans in the long run.

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