How antibody and vaccine relate

  • by VaccineHealthCenter

With new diseases such as Covid- 19 setting in and the already existing diseases becoming more mutant, there is a need for the health agency to develop vaccines. There are vaccines for most of the common diseases like polio, measles, tuberculosis, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, and even Covid- 19. For any of the vaccines introduced to the body to work, an antibody must be part of the process. In essence, if the body cannot produce antibodies, it cannot fight the foreign infectious pathogens or antigens.

What is an antibody?
An antibody is a Y-shaped protein produced by type B cells. The name 'antibody' was coined for this protein following its mode of function. Antibodies work by binding themselves on the surface of an infectious pathogen or antigen. In this action, they prevent the pathogens from entering the body's system, thereby offering protection against disease infection. Because it’s the type B cells that produce antibodies, any infection of the B cells means a reduction in the antibody levels, which may make the sufferer susceptible to illness.

Types of antibodies

All antibodies fall in any of the two categories below;

  • Natural antibody- this refers to the antibody that the type B lymphocytes produce. They develop when one falls sick and manages to pull through an infection. The body produces antibodies that will recognize the antigens or pathogens when they come into contact with the immune cells. The natural antibody can sometimes be produced by the body passively when a vaccine is introduced to the body.
  • Monoclonal antibody- this refers to the antibody that is manufactured in the lab. The structure of the natural antibody can be copied and used to produce the monoclonal antibody. These lab-produced antibodies are slightly different from natural antibodies since they instantly start working as an antibody. In the foregoing, an attenuated form of a virus or bacterium is introduced to the body to induce antibody production. With monoclonal antibody, a fully-formed antibody is introduced to the body. They are especially important for the older fellows whose immunity is not strong enough to produce natural antibodies, or for those who are exposed to a pathogen but are not yet immunized.

Categories of antibody
Antibodies are also called immunoglobulins, shortened as Ig. There are five Ig types, including;

  • IgG- this is Immunoglobulin type G. of all the Igs, IgG has the highest neutralization and opsonization activities. This antibody type is further classified into IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4. The total human immunoglobulin has IgG taking 70-75%, meaning that it is the most abundant antibody. This Ig type performs detoxification functions and uses macrophages and leukocytes to recognize any antigen-antibody reaction of the body.
  • IgM- the body first produces antibody IgM when an antigen invades the body and the antibody level increases satiently. It constitutes about 10% of the total immunoglobulins in the body. Although this type of antibody has a low affinity for antigens than IgG, it’s more avid to the antigen. This phenomenon results from its pentametric structure that involves five Y-shaped proteins co-joining. Often, some IgM will have a hexametric structure.
  • IgA- this type of antibody is found in mucosal tissues such as the nose. Once they are secreted, they form dimers. IgA is found in breast milk, mucus, serum, saliva, among other fluids. The IgA found in breast milk has a critical function of protecting the gastrointestinal tract of neonates from pathogens. They form 10-15% of the total antibody.
  • IgD- the functionality of this antibody is still unknown as the information available about it is scarce. Some scientists attribute it to the induction of antibody production in B cells, but this is not yet confirmed. Its total percentage in the immunoglobulins is less than 1%.
  • IgE- this type of immunoglobulin that accounts for not more than 0.001% of the total antibody. The primary role of IgE is protection against parasites, hay fever, Hodgkin's disease, asthma allergies, and atopic dermatitis.

The primary response involving antibody and a vaccine
When a person receives a vaccine, the following steps occur, incorporating antibodies;

  • A weakened form of a pathogen (bacterium/virus) is introduced into the body in the form of a vaccine
  • Although the pathogens are attenuated, they still retain the characteristics of the pathogen, and so the type B cells stimulate the production of antibodies to fight the perceived pathogen
  • The type B lymphocytes detect the pathogen characteristic in the attenuated virus/bacterium
  • The type B lymphocytes multiply, producing identical clone cells
  • The clone cells form plasma cells or memory B cells
  • The plasma cells produce antibodies
  • The antibodies bind the surface of the perceived pathogen, preparing your cells to fight against the actual pathogen upon contact

For the vaccines to work, the functionality of an antibody is key. The vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that bind the surface of pathogens, protecting their entry into the body and subsequent infection.