person conducting a medical test

Long COVID Test A Possibility After Rogue Antibodies Detected In Patients With Persistent Symptoms

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our understanding of the disease was minimal at best. Because it was new to medical scientists, the way it operated within humans, how it infiltrated the body, and the way it affected survivors was all but theory until enough evidence was gathered. Two years in, that evidence has found that not only are survivors equipped with antibodies against the virus, but some are also suffering from a condition known as long COVID.

Until recently, diagnosing long COVID was based on examining people who had recovered from the virus, yet remained plagued with lingering symptoms. That may all change now, though, as medical researchers have discovered something interesting in the blood of patients suffering long-term consequences of the infection. Because of this, a new test may be possible to help identify past infections and diagnose long COVID cases in those who continue to suffer from symptoms.

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What You Need To Know About The New Lyme Disease Antibody Shot

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 476,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year. However, the actual number could be a lot higher due to misdiagnosis and undocumented cases. Lyme disease can be dangerous for people who don’t seek prompt treatment because of the way the borrelia bacteria camps out within the body, causing issues for weeks, months, or even years after the initial infection.

Because the number of cases is so high and the symptoms and health consequences of a Lyme disease infection are so detrimental, the best course of action is to prevent the contraction of the disease. But prevention techniques such as wearing loose-fitting clothing and checking for ticks after being outdoors may not be enough. So, what else can medical professionals do to help prevent the spread of Lyme disease in America? One approach that shows promise is a Lyme disease antibody shot.

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immune system response

What Is The Role Of IgG In Immune Response?

Each cell, protein, vitamin and nutrient in the body plays a role in how well the immune system functions, as well as the way it regulates and maintains its power to fight off harmful pathogens. Key cells and proteins that work together within the immune system include cytokines, lymphocytes, neutrophils, macrophages, complement proteins, and antibodies.

Antibodies, in particular, have special roles to play when it comes to your immunity. There are five in total, each serving a specific purpose. IgM antibodies, for example, are produced to hunt pathogens and mark them for destruction. The IgE antibody was recently found to have a role in allergies and the response of the immune system when an allergen enters the system. Certain lymphocytes called B cells rely on IgD to help produce new antibodies, and IgA is found in serum, nasal discharge, saliva, and breast milk and plays a role in maternal immunity, among other things.

The most prevalent antibody, however, is IgG. It makes up over 70% of all antibodies found in the system and is the only one that can pass through placenta, essentially protecting newborns in the womb and for a week after birth. It protects the body as a whole after being transported to blood and tissue. But what is the role of IgG in immune response, exactly?

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person with infection-driven illness having temperature taken

Patterns Of IgG And IgM Antibody Response In Infection-Driven Illness

The body’s first line of defense is the immune system. When pathogens enter the body, cells within the immune system target them to help the body fight them off and avoid illness. There are three categories of immune cells: lymphocytes, neutrophils, and monocytes/macrophages. Each group of cells has its own respective tasks to do when the body is fighting off an invader.

The immune system also contains certain proteins that help protect the body even further. These include cytokines, complement proteins, and antibodies. Antibodies, in particular, are tasked with hunting down viruses, bacteria, fungi and other pathogens so they can mark them for other cells to find and destroy. Essentially, antibodies are the hunters of the immune system.

There are five types of antibodies that work for the immune system’s search-and-destroy task force, so to speak. Below, we’ll discuss two specific types: IgM and IgG.

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