Ground Report | News Desk
Vaccines are considered to be among the greatest medical advances in the past several centuries. Study of the immune system has led to the development of antibody drugs, allowing medical researchers to harness the mechanisms that make vaccines so powerful in a specific, targeted manner. In this way, the new class of drugs can take advantage of your body’s own ability to target and fight threats.
What’s in a vaccine?
Each vaccine contains a killed or weakened form of the organism (usually a virus or bacterium) that causes a particular disease. Even though the organism in the vaccine has been altered so that it won’t make you ill, the part of the organism that stimulates your immune system to respond (the antigen) is still present.
What is an Antibody?
An antibody is a protein produced by the immune system that is capable of binding with high specificity to an antigen. These antigens are typically other proteins, but may be carbohydrates, small molecules or even nucleotides.
Antibodies are powerful research tools because they bind specifically to a unique epitope on the antigen, thereby allowing the detection of a specific protein in an assay while avoiding detection of unrelated proteins.
The antibody itself is a Y-shaped protein that contains a constant region common to all antibodies produced by a particular species and a variable region that is unique and specific to a particular epitope.