Passive immunization is where pre-synthesized elements of the immune system are transferred to a person so that the body does not need to produce these elements itself. Currently, antibodies can be used for passive immunization. This method of immunization begins to work very quickly, but it is short lasting, because the antibodies are naturally broken down, and if there are no B cells to produce more antibodies, they will disappear.
Passive immunization occurs physiologically, when antibodies are transferred from mother to fetus during pregnancy, to protect the fetus before and shortly after birth.
Artificial passive immunization is normally administered by injection and is used if there has been a recent outbreak of a particular disease or as an emergency treatment for toxicity, as in for tetanus. Treatment of this sort is often the subject of case based learning in first year medical curricula. The antibodies can be produced in animals, called "serum therapy," although there is a high chance of anaphylactic shock because of immunity against animal serum itself. Thus, humanized antibodies produced in vitro by cell culture are used instead if available.
Famous quotes containing the word passive:
“It is my conviction that in general women are more snobbish and class conscious than men and that these ignoble traits are a product of mens attitude toward women and womens passive acceptance of this attitude.”
—Mary Barnett Gilson (1877?)