Our immunity – Our own army
The world is full of dangerous creatures that are out there to harm you. The worst part is that these vicious creatures are invisible and present in the air that we breath in. From bacteria to viruses, hundreds of thousands of infecting microbes travel to your lungs and bath in your bloodstream everyday. So why don’t you fall sick everyday? That’s because you have an army. An army called the immune system of our body. An army of microscopic soldiers who swarm in as soon as they see some invader trying to get inside.
Line of defense
As a bacteria or a virus enters our body, the immune system detects the foreign nature of the microbe and white blood cells, who patrol the blood quickly analyze the specimen. If the microbe is limited in number, the WBCs start to engulf the microbe and end the case there, as if nothing happened. But sometimes, the microbe that enters is either unknown or very powerful to be overcome by the first line of defense. So they call for backup. In comes antibodies, with their heavy artilleries.
The antibodies have special Y-shaped receptors that they try and attach to the sites of bacteria or virus. After a series of trial and error, if they get a compatible hit, they start producing the antibodies and give an overwhelming response, completely neutralizing the enemy. This is the inflammatory action. In fact, the fever that you get during an infection is a result of our own immunity to create a hot temperature so that the infecting microbe becomes unable to survive. As a side effect, in case the amount of microbes it too much, the body heats too much which could damage the body itself.
Our immune system has a very powerful tool to fight off infections. It has memory with which it can recognize a particular microbe that invaded previously. So the first time when the microbe entered, the immune system analyzed it and kept it in records. They make sure that the next visit won’t be pleasant for the microbes. If there is a subsequent visit, the immune system gives a vigorous response, neutralizing the infecting agents. This is the principle of vaccination. Attenuated infectious particles are introduced in the body so that the body can recognize and register it.
An evolutionary gift
The strong and powerful immune system that we have is a gift of millions of years of evolution and a fight against our microscopic foes. There are a ton of different types of microbes that harm our bodies. It is not possible for the immune system to have a memory of all these microbes. So to avoid a situation where it fails to produce an antigen, it has devised a brilliant method. The body produces billions of different variations of the antibodies to make sure it encompasses all types of antigens. It is fascinating that such an activity takes place and we do not even feel it.
All immune body?
Can we by using the principle that our immune system uses, make our immunity so strong that every disease becomes ineffective? Yes, it can be done but it would be useless. Even if we register all the microbes known to our immunity, the microbes have their evolutionary weapon too. They evolve and bypass our security measures, creating a more potent and effective version of themselves. That is the reason there is an impending antibiotics crisis. Nature treats everyone equally. If we want to protect ourselves from diseases, there is a viable way of eradicating the most harmful diseases. But evolution is a two-edged sword. Some other disease will take its place while giving us relief from one. Stay healthy.