What Is The Difference Between Specific And Nonspecific Immunity
The immune system is composed of two parts: innate and adaptive .
The innate immune system is the fast-acting first line of defense and affords nonspecific immunity through both physical and chemical means. Examples of physical components of innate immunity include our skin and nasal hairs. Chemical components include things like acids in the stomach, enzymes in sweat and saliva, and inflammatory responses that cause heat, redness, swelling and pain locally. These defense responses represent nonspecific immunity because they occur regardless of the type of threat being posed.
The adaptive immune system takes longer to activate, but responds specifically to an invading pathogen. The immune responses are specific for the virus or bacteria posing the threat. Antibodies generated by B cells are examples of the adaptive immune response they will only work on the pathogen against which they were generated. Immunological memory, in which our bodies remember previous pathogens and activate more rapidly, is also an example of adaptive immunity. Vaccines employ the adaptive immune system to protect us from future encounters with viruses and bacteria.
Are Nosodes Viable Alternatives To Vaccination
The short answer to this question is no. Nosodes are products taken from the body, diluted extensively , and used as a homeopathic treatment.
Lets take the example of a nosode to prevent human papillomavirus . The nosode is made by first taking fluid from the cervix of a woman infected with HPV. The fluid is then diluted to the point that no HPV is present. Therefore, a nosode is composed only of the fluid that was used to dilute the virus. For this reason, an HPV nosode cannot possibly prevent HPV infection.
A nosode vaccine is made using the concept of homeopathy, which was first introduced by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. Proponents of homeopathy believe that while, in this case, HPV is no longer present in the nosode, the solution maintains a memory of the original agent that protects the patient from subsequent infection. No evidence supports this notion. And, quite frankly, its a good thing that the original HPV is no longer present. Otherwise, the recipient would be at risk of catching the virus.
Real vaccines, on the other hand , are made with known, measurable quantities of killed pathogens or individual pieces of them, such as proteins or inactivated toxins. Likewise, measurable immune responses are generated. In contrast, nosodes are made from solutions that have been randomly diluted such that no measurable material remains. Because no infectious material remains, measurable immune responses are not generated.
Hard To Find What Youre Not Looking For
Vaccines have been used for centuries. So if they have such profound effects on the risk of other diseases, why didnt we discover this a long time ago? The short answer is that you cant discover what youre not looking for.
Everybody has been convinced that vaccines only affected the target infection, so their effect on other infections and overall health was not studied. So while there are many studies that show that vaccines have protective effects, there is no data that shows that vaccines only have protective effects.
It is time to change our perception of vaccines: vaccines are not merely a protective tool against a specific disease, they affect the immune system broadly. In the case of live vaccines, the immune system is strengthened. In contrast, non-live vaccines seem to have a negative effect on the immune system in females.
The latter finding is an obvious cause for concern, particularly since it would be undesirable to stop using, say, the DTP vaccine, as it protects against three severe diseases. Fortunately, there is something to do. It appears that if a live vaccine is given after a non-live vaccine, the negative effect of the non-live vaccine may be mitigated. So there is an urgent need for studies testing different sequences of live and non-live vaccines.
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In Addition To Antibodies Do Other Parts Of The Immune System Play A Role In The Response To Sars
Dr. Klemm: We do talk a lot about antibodies, but SeroNet actually studies the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 more broadly. Several lines of evidence suggest that T cells play an important role in the response to the coronavirus. For example, one SeroNet study found T cells that recognize SARS-CoV-2 in blood samples obtained from people who had recovered from COVID-19.
Microscope image of a T cell, a type of immune cell that protects the body from infection.
And it appears that T cells contribute to protection from infection, at least in lab animals. In one study, nonhuman primates that lacked T cells were more susceptible to reinfection with SARS-CoV-2.
But we’re just scratching the surface of understanding the T-cell response to SARS-CoV-2 here. Theres still a lot of important research to be done to answer questions about the role of T cells in fighting COVID-19.
Dr. Finstad: One of the things that makes T-cell studies more difficult to do in large populations is that tests of T cell functionality take a lot of time, are expensive, and require a larger blood sample than antibody tests.
Box 1 A Brief History Of Vaccination
Almost 100years after Jenner, the work of Louis Pasteur on rabies vaccine in the 1880s heralded the beginning of a frenetic period of development of new vaccines, so that by the middle of the twentieth century, vaccines for many different diseases had been developed as inactivated pathogen products or toxoid vaccines. However, it was the coordination of immunization as a major public health tool from the 1950s onwards that led to the introduction of comprehensive vaccine programmes and their remarkable impact on child health that we enjoy today. In 1974, the World Health Organization launched the Expanded Programme on Immunization and a goal was set in 1977 to reach every child in the world with vaccines for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles and tuberculosis by 1990. Unfortunately, that goal has still not been reached although global coverage of 3 doses of the diphtheriatetanuspertussis vaccine has risen to more than 85%, there are still more than 19million children who did not receive basic vaccinations in 2019 .
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How Does The Immune System Work
Your immune system is always on patrol in your body. When it comes across an invading germ, it attacks that germ. This is called an immune response.
Heres how an immune response works:
- Your immune system sounds the alarm so your body knows theres an infection.
- It begins releasing antibodies to fight the germ think of antibodies as soldiers designed to fight off the specific germ you have. This process can take a few days.
- The antibodies work to attack, weaken, and destroy the germ.
- Afterwards, your immune system remembers the germ. If the germ invades again, your body can recognize it and quickly send out the right antibodies so you dont get sick!
- This protection against a certain disease is called immunity. In many cases, immunity lasts your whole life.
Vaccine Side Effects: What You Should Know
Some of the potential side effects of a vaccine fever, chills, headache and fatigue can seem very similar to the symptoms of the illness its meant to prevent.
But if you understand how vaccines work, youll know that experiencing a side effect isnt a sign that somethings gone wrong. Its a sign that your body is responding just the way it should after a vaccine.
Any time your immune system encounters a foreign material or something your body doesnt recognize it mounts an immune response to attack that foreign body and get rid of that foreign material, said Julie Giddens, PharmD, an OSF HealthCare pharmacist who specializes in treating infectious diseases.
That immune response causes your body to create proteins that attack the foreign material, and they can also cause symptoms such as fever, fatigue or a headache.
Not everyone will have a large immune response, so they may not experience a noticeable fever or fatigue. But those who do, it can be because their immune system is working, Julie said.
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Can You Still Transmit The Coronavirus After Vaccination
This is another question that researchers are still investigating, said Boslett. Its possible that you could get the vaccine, have an immune response, but maybe not enough of an immune response to prevent asymptomatic infection, and still transmit the virus.
Dipti Sil receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from UCSF nurse Patrick Sorensen, RN, at a vaccination drive-through for San Francisco residents age 75 and older.
Until proven otherwise, people should consider asymptomatic infections and transmission to be a possibility. Theres a concern that people could get the vaccine and feel like they are safe, but they could be actually infected with the virus and carry it in their nasal passages and in their airways. And because theyre feeling safe, they might be less cautious and actually spread the disease, said Boslett. With this in mind, health officials are urging everyone, even people who have received the vaccination, to continue to wear masks, stay six feet apart from people not in their own household and to wash their hands frequently.
The vaccines ability to prevent symptomatic disease is excellent, and will go a long way in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths. But its not perfect, said Boslett. There were still a few people who, after two doses of vaccine, got infections. Whether thats because their bodies just didnt mount an appropriate immune response or something else, we dont know.
Challenges To Vaccination Success
Vaccines only work if they are used. Perhaps the biggest challenge to immunization programmes is ensuring that the strong headwinds against deployment, ranging from poor infrastructure and lack of funding to vaccine hesitancy and commercial priorities, do not prevent successful protection of the most vulnerable in society. It is noteworthy that these are not classical scientific challenges, although limited knowledge about which antigens are protective, which immune responses are needed for protection and how to enhance the right immune responses, particularly in the older population, are also important considerations.
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How Vaccines Can Affect The Natural Immune System
While vaccines temporarily boost the body’s immunity against Covid-19, the immune system stops learning from cell memory and instead depend on what the vaccine taught it about the infection to survive it. Immunologist Daniella Weiskopf told LA Times that vaccinations were teaching the B Cells and T cells how to identify the virus through simulation. In her opinion, the body needed to learn the virus first in order to know which parts to bind to and how to go about eliminating it. This can be especially troublesome in the case of viruses like Covid-19 which has found several variations, some of which have managed to get past the vaccine.
The high rate of Omicron infections among the vaccinated is proof that virus mutations can get past the first and second layer of defence of the human immune system including NK and B cells. However, it was caught by T cells.
The idea is that with every mutation and change in spike protein, the body needs to be re-introduced to the virus afresh to be able to learn how to appropriately respond.
Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm Immune System Another Myth Debunked
There are a large number of tropes and myths pushed by the anti-vaccine crowd. Like toxic chemicals in vaccines. Or vaccines cause autism. And one that keeps showing up multiple vaccines overwhelm the immune system.
And like other articles Ive written about anti-vaccine myths and tropes, the idea of multiple vaccines harming children is easily debunked by scientific facts. And were doing that right here.
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Hiv: The Other Pandemic
The HI-virus , attacks the immune system, for examples T-cells . Like SARS-CoV-2, it’s an RNA-based virus. If left untreated, it’ll weaken the immune system until it can’t fight infections anymore. HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids like semen or blood. There’s no vaccine, but there’s medication that brings down the viral load and stops AIDS from breaking out.
“It just doesn’t make sense to me,” Offit said. “I don’t know how it came to be. I mean, when President Biden stood up on August 18 and said we’re going to have booster doses available for everybody over 16′, I just don’t know where that came from.”
The CDC says that although two doses of the vaccine work to prevent severe illness in most people, boosters can help protect severe illness in people in risk groups, and against reinfection from new variants like omicron.
Recent trials in Israel and the US have also shown that boosters can help protect older people. Offit says they make sense for people who need them due to risk factors, but that protection from omicron alone isn’t enough of a reason to boost everyone.
“The people who get hospitalized, people who have multiple comorbidities, who are older or immunosuppressed boost them. I’m all for that,” Offit said. “But I just don’t understand the story of this war against mild disease in healthy young people.”
The Myth Of Antigenic Overload
An important parental concern is that vaccines might overwhelm their childrens immune systems. In a telephone survey in the USA, 23% of parents agreed with the statement Children get more immunizations than are good for them, and 25% indicated that they were concerned that their childs immune system could be weakened by too many immunizations. However, there is ample evidence to disprove these beliefs. Although the number of vaccines in immunization programmes has increased, the total number of antigens has actually decreased from more than 3,200 to approximately 320 as a result of discontinuing the smallpox vaccine and replacing the whole-cell pertussis vaccine with the acellular vaccine,. Vaccines comprise only a small fraction of the antigens that children are exposed to throughout normal life, with rapid bacterial colonization of the gastrointestinal tract after birth, multiple viral infections and environmental antigens. Moreover, multiple studies have shown that children who received vaccinations had a similar, or even reduced, risk of unconnected infections in the following period,,,. Looking at children who presented to the emergency department with infections not included in the vaccine programme, there was no difference in terms of their previous antigen exposure by vaccination.
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Vaccine Safety: Immune System And Health
Some concerns about vaccine safety relate to how vaccines interact with the immune system or even how the immune system functions in different situations . While it is fair to consider these concerns, it is important to understand them in the context of how the immune system works.
Two Types Of Vaccines
There are two major types of vaccines, live and non-live. Live vaccines contain the disease organism in a weakened form. They create a mild natural infection in the body, usually so mild that there are no symptoms. These vaccines give good protection against the disease they were designed for from the first dose.
Non-live vaccines contain the killed disease organism or parts of it. They are not very good at stimulating the immune system and usually have to be given with a helper substance, known as an adjuvant, and in several shots to give disease protection. The non-live vaccines can never create the real disease, so most doctors prefer them over live vaccines.
We have now investigated four live vaccines and six non-live vaccines, in Guinea-Bissau and other low-income countries, as well as in Denmark. A consistent pattern has emerged. The live vaccines reduce death and disease much more than can be explained by the specific protection. But the non-live vaccines, in spite of protecting against the vaccine disease, are associated with negative effects on health, including death, particularly for girls. Here are two examples.
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Is Natural Infection Better Than Immunization
It is true that natural infection almost always causes better immunity than vaccines. Whereas immunity from disease often follows a single natural infection, immunity from vaccines usually occurs only after several doses. However, the difference between vaccination and natural infection is the price paid for immunity:
- The price paid for immunity after natural infection might be pneumonia from chickenpox, intellectual disability from Haemophilus influenzae type b , pneumonia from pneumococcus, birth defects from rubella, liver cancer from hepatitis B virus, or death from measles.
- Immunization with vaccines, like natural infections, typically induces long-lived immunity. But unlike natural infection, immunization does not extract such a high price for immunity that is, immunization does not cause pneumonia, intellectual disability, birth defects, cancer or death.
If you could see the world from the perspective of your immune system, you would realize that where the virus or bacteria comes from is irrelevant. Your immune system sees something that is foreign, attacks it, disables it and then adds information to the memory bank, so your body can react more quickly the next time that same foreign invader arrives.
The differences between a vaccine and getting the disease naturally are the dose and the known time of exposure:
Of interest, a few vaccines induce a better immune response than natural infection:
How The Immune System Works To Fight Covid
The human immune system is made up of several components that together fight against disease and invasion from germs, bacteria and viruses. This includes B cells, T cells, DCs and NK that together provide protection at several levels by performing various different activities. These natural components work together with vaccine antibodies against the disease. However, the immune system also creates memory cells that learn and adapt to new infections so that they can respond quicker and faster the next time.
The NK or Natural Killer cells and B cells are produced by the bone marrow which in turn help create antibodies. These NK and B cells, both white blood cells, fight the invasion after it has entered the body but is yet to affect any cells. The point to note is that while NKs are naturally present in the body and can kill any foreign cells that invade it, antibodies are only created in response to a disease. They work by attaching themselves to pathogens and attacking them. The attacked foreign cell is then destroyed by other elements of the immune system. In the case of Covid-19, vaccines create antibodies that attach themselves to the spike protein – the part that is used by the virus to replicate rapidly – and disable them.
In case a virus cell manages to get past the B and NK cells as well as antibodies, and do manage to attack cells in the body, T cells kill the infected cells to prevent further replication of the infected cell.
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