Immunity is a term we used to describe the body’s ability to fight against invading organisms as well as for reactions within the body itself. Vaccination programmes world wide are implemented in hope of developing the immune system or making them aware regarding a possible infection prior to its occurrence and thereby protecting the body through its own defenses. Although such a mature immune responses are developed through outside interventions, certain other immune reactions are said to exist from birth and would not be needing any training or strengthening from outside. Thus, it is obvious that there are several types of immune mechanisms in existence in our body and this article would be looking in to the difference between the two known immune responses which are the ‘acquired’ or ‘innate’ immunity.
Innate immunity is the body’s defense which prevails from the birth and would not be altering its strength and the intensity of action through continuous exposure to external insults such as microorganisms and other substances. Furthermore, the action exerted by these mechanisms belonging to innate immunity is not specific but would rather be non-specific in nature. When considering some of the mechanisms of innate immunity, phagocytosis or engulfing of the microorganisms and other foreign substances by macrophages, complement mediated inflammatory reactions as well as barrier mechanisms such as skin, cilliary movements in the respiratory passages and pH levels in gastric acid, vaginal secretions…etc can all be categorized under this mode of immune response.
In contrast to innate immunity, acquired immunity would not be present from the birth and therefore it is known as acquired. This sort of immunity would be more specific towards a particular microorganism or else a foreign protein particle as its development depends on exposure to such events. Thus, once a person becomes exposed to certain amount of foreign particles, these would act as ‘antigens’ which stimulate the body to produce a relevant ‘antibody’. At the same time, the reaction would remain in the memory of certain immune cells and when the same antigen invades for a second time, the reaction would be swift and in most instances overwhelming enough to defeat the incoming pathogen. Thus, the same principle is being used in producing vaccinations as small quantities of organisms, dead organisms or its derivatives are used to produce the ‘memory cells’ required for an immune response, but not the actual disease, which would be enough to negotiate an actual infection from the original pathogenic organism at a later time.
Therefore, it is evident that, both innate and acquired immunity is necessary for us to survive in this world full of pathogenic entities.