The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the importance our immune system plays in preserving our health. We are continuously being bombarded by infectious viruses, bacteria and other noxious agents that would be lethal if they were not destroyed by immune defenses. Our immune antibodies capture the intruders in blood and tissue preventing them from spreading. A specialized white blood cell attacker devours these invaders and other white cells clean up the debris and send coding to memory cells that help prevent future infection. By injecting deactivated parts of viruses or cancer cells, we can stimulate this immune response to fight these diseases. Using a part of a deactivated poliovirus, Dr. Jonas Salk‘s team produced a vaccine that stimulated our immunity that eliminated the paralyzing illness. This same method is being tried in treating early Alzheimer’s disease as well. Just imagine all the vaccines children get at their pediatricians or travelers get going to potentially dangerous destinations. Biotech companies are now making antibodies to relieve asthma, stop migraines and lower cholesterol! Our expanding knowledge of immune regulation is truly a game changer in keeping us healthy and curing diseases. Only the tip of the iceberg. More to come!
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