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Any invader in the body is known as an antigen, and they are detected by B lymphocytes, which are specialized cells circulating in the fluids of the body. Each B lymphocyte has thousands of special receptors on its surface, which only respond to a specific antigen. These receptors are called antibodies.
Well Mrs. Johnson, it appears your son has Coronavirus. He most likely contracted it through contact with another infected person. Don't be alarmed, he's a healthy boy, and I expect him to make a full recovery.
When an antigen pairs with the matching receptor, B cells go to town making more antibodies. These antibodies bind to the antigens, and mark them making it easier for them to be recognized by the many other cells in the immune system.
Heavens to Betsy! A virus sounds pretty serious! I didn't pay attention in AP Biology, so can you explain how on earth his body will fight it off?
Macrophages and Cytotoxic T Cells kill antigens, but require Helper T cells to function. These helper T Cells use chemical messengers to alert Macrophages and Cytotoxic T Cells, and make them spring into action. The body will continue to recognize and neutralize until all the invaders are destroyed. Thanks to special B Cells which remember these invaders for years, if ever he were to get sick again, his immune system would spring into action much faster. Something that make him bedridden the first time around might only give him a cold the second time.
Your body has two types of defenses. The first is through natural barriers, like the layers of dead skin. The second is a series of specialized cells that identify, kill, and remember invaders.
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