Image: Immune response
Description: The time course of an immune response. Immune reactants, such as antibodies and effector T-cells, work to eliminate an infection, and their levels and activity rapidly increase following an encounter with an infectious agent, whether that agent is a pathogen or a vaccine. For several weeks these reactants remain in the serum and lymphatic tissues and provide protective immunity against reinfection by the same agent. During an early reinfection, few outward symptoms of illness are present, but the levels of immune reactants increase and are detectable in the blood and/or lymph. Following clearance of the infection, antibody level and effector T-cell activity gradually declines. Because immunological memory has developed, reinfection at later time points leads to a rapid increase in antibody production and effector T cell activity. These later infections can be mild or even inapparent.
Title: Immune response
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