Column: Human Body’s Immune System Is Complicated

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Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles prepared by Dr. Paul Kuzma to further public understanding of COVID-19.How does our body fight off infections? What is convalescent plasma? What are monoclonal antibody treatments? How do vaccines work?All of these important questions require a basic understanding of our bodies’ immune system. The immune system is incredibly complex, and some doctors spend their entire careers treating immune system disorders. However, everyone can benefit from a basic understanding of how it functions. This article will help inform future articles about COVID-19, including treatments, vaccines, the potential for herd immunity and control of this disease.
Our immune system allows us to survive in a hostile world. There are any number of bacteria, viruses, toxins and tumors that want to invade our bodies and use them for their own purposes. They try to take over our cells and use them to reproduce themselves at our expense. Without a strong and adaptable immune system, we wouldn’t last long.We never know what invader is going to attack us next, so our immune system must be able to recognize all sorts of outsiders and defend against them. If we …

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