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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences
Rimma Teper

Chapter 1Elements of the immune system and their roles in defenseImmunology is the study of the physiological mechanisms that humans and other animals use to defend their bodies from invasion by other organismsInfectious diseases are caused by microorganisms which have the advantage of reproducing and evolving much more rapidly than their human hostTo provide immunity that will provide protection from the disease in the future the immune system must first do battle with the micro organism This places people at highest risk during their first infection with a microorganismIn medicine the greatest triumph of immunology has been vaccination or immunization a procedure whereby severe disease is prevented by prior exposure to the infectious agent in a form that cannot cause diseasevaccination provides the opportunity for the immune system to gain the experience needed to make a protective response with little risk to health or lifeVaccinations first used against small pox a viral scourge that once ravaged populations and disfigured survivors Effective vaccines have been made from only a fraction of the agents that cause disease and some are of limited availability bc of their cost the main purpose of the immune system is to protect the human body from infectious diseaseMore than 500 microbial species live in the healthy adult gut and contribute about two pounds of the bodys weight they are called commensal species meaning they eat at the same tableCommensal organisms enhance human
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