Adaptive Immunity

The immune system is broken down into two functional units: innate and adaptive immunity. While there is considerable interplay between the players and processes of each branch, the innate immune system is generally characterised as fast-acting, non-specific defences and responses whereas the adaptive immune system is the slower, more targeted response to a specific antigen (an antigen is a substance which can generate an immune response). Once the innate immune system has been activated, processes are set in motion which eventually lead to the generation of antibodies and immunological memory. On average, the innate immune system begins to respond in force almost a week after detection.

Ultimately, the goal of both systems is to protect the organism by detecting and destroying harmful self (eg. tumours) and non-self (eg. pathogens) material.

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