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Difference between Active and Passive Immunity


Immunity is the body's capacity to defend itself against toxic substances or infectious agents like germs and viruses. There are two types of immunity: active immunity and passive immunity.

In general, the immune system is essential for defending the body against illness and infection. It can be strengthened by leading a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, frequent exercise, and enough sleep. It is continually evolving and altering in response to new threats.

Difference between Active and Passive Immunity

How to Boost Immune System:

  • A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods can give the body the nutrients it needs to boost immunological function. Consume a well-balanced diet.
  • Exercise frequently as by promoting the body's immune cells' circulation, regular exercise can strengthen the immune system.
  • Get enough sleep as the body can rest and repair itself while you sleep, which is essential for immunological function.
  • Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as relaxation techniques, exercise, etc.
  • Maintain excellent hygiene as it helps to stop the spread of illness by taking simple precautions like often washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and avoiding close contact with sick people.
  • Vaccinate yourself as they are a secure and reliable way to guard against many infectious diseases. You can increase your immunity and lower your risk of contracting an illness by being vaccinated.

It is crucial to remember that no one component can fully guarantee immunity to all forms of infection or disease. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, frequent exercise, and good hygiene habits is the greatest method to strengthen the immune system.

Active Immunity

Difference between Active and Passive Immunity

Active immunity refers to the process by which the immune system of the body learns to identify and protect against certain pathogens, such as viruses or bacteria. Normally, the immune system of the body will produce this kind of immunity in reaction to exposure to a pathogen, or it will do so on purpose by administering a vaccine that contains a pathogen that has been killed or rendered inert.

The body's immune system is made up of a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that collaborate/work together to fight infection. When the body is exposed to a pathogen, the immune system mounts a response by producing antibodies, which are proteins that precisely detect and bind to the pathogen. The immune response is the term used to describe this process of producing antibodies.

Types of Active immunity:

There are two main types of active immunity: natural and artificial.

1. Natural Active Immunity:

Natural exposure to a disease-causing agent, such as a virus or bacteria, is one way to develop natural active immunity. An individual's immune system mounts an immunological response to get rid of the virus after exposure because it detects it as being foreign. Antibodies, which are proteins that particularly detect and bind to the pathogen, are frequently produced during this process.

White blood cells made by the immune system, such as T cells and B cells, aid in the pathogen's elimination and stop it from doing additional damage. Through this process, the immune system is prepared to identify and combat the virus if it is subsequently met.

The disease is often long-lastingly protected by natural active immunity. For instance, if someone gets chickenpox and recovers from it, they probably have lifelong immunity to the illness and won't acquire it again. Natural active immunity can offer a certain level of protection, but it is not always sufficient. As a result, it is conceivable for a person to be re-exposed to the same pathogen and get the same illness.

2. Artificial Active Immunity:

A form of immunity known as artificial active immunity is acquired when a disease-causing substance is consciously introduced into the body, such as during vaccination. A small quantity of a pathogen, or a pathogen that has been changed, is present in vaccines to trigger the immune system's production of antibodies and other immune cells that can attach to and recognize the pathogen. This technique is comparable to how natural active immunity is developed, however, vaccination rather than unavoidable exposure to the pathogen is used to intentionally induce it.

Artificial active immunity frequently offers enduring defines against disease, similar to natural active immunity. Vaccines can offer protection that lasts about as long as acquired immunity since they are made to mimic the immune response to a virus.

Similar to natural active immunity, artificial active immunity typically provides long-lasting protection against disease. Because vaccines are created to replicate the immune response to a virus, they can provide protection that lasts roughly as long as acquired immunity. Despite having had a vaccination, a person still has a chance of contracting the disease if they are exposed to it since the level of protection provided by artificial active immunity may vary and not always be complete.

Artificial active immunity is a key public health measure to halt the spread of infectious diseases and protect people and communities from their harmful effects. In great part because of vaccination, which is also a key strategy for slowing the spread of other infectious diseases, smallpox and polio have been eradicated.

Active immunity has the potential to continue for a very long time, even for a lifetime. Passive immunity, which is a transitory immunity that is passed from one person to another, usually through the exchange of antibodies, is normally less effective at defending against illnesses. Active immunity occurs when the body's immune system produces antibodies to fight against a specific infection or toxin.

Some Notable Points about Active Immunity

  1. When the body has acquired active immunity to a specific pathogen, it can offer long-lasting defence against subsequent infections with that disease.
  2. Antibodies are produced as part of active immunity when a pathogen is introduced to the body; these antibodies are specific to that infection. These antibodies aid in the body's elimination of the pathogen by neutralising it.
  3. Vaccines can be used to artificially induce active immunity. Because the pathogen is either dead or weakened in the vaccine, the body can build immunity without contracting the disease.


Biological products called vaccines aid in preventing infectious diseases. They function by delivering a tiny, non-lethal particle of a pathogen (such as a virus or bacteria) into the body. As a result, the immune system is prompted to develop antibodies that aid in preventing further infections of the same diseases.

Measles, polio, and influenza are just a few of the infectious diseases for which vaccines have been created. Vaccines are a crucial weapon in the fight against infectious diseases and are used frequently to do so. They have been essential in the suppression of numerous once-common diseases, including smallpox.

There are several distinct kinds of vaccinations, including recombinant, inactivated, subunit, and live attenuated vaccines. Each type has a unique mechanism of action and is employed to guard against particular diseases.

To safeguard yourself and others from diseases that can be serious or even fatal, it is crucial to get vaccinated. Vaccines have been rigorously evaluated before being made widely available, and they are typically quite safe and effective.

  1. Active immunity is typically more successful than passive immunity: Passive immunity, which happens when a person is given pre-formed antibodies rather than making them themselves, is typically less effective at offering long-term protection against infection.
  2. In some circumstances, the body's immune response to a pathogen may result in a brief period of illness. This is known as active immunity. This can happen with some immunizations, as it does frequently with organic diseases. However, the advantages of having an active immune system outweigh any short-term discomfort it may cause.

Immunity is the capacity of a person or a population to fend off or resist infectious disease. It can be either artificial immunity, which is gained through the administration of vaccines or immunoglobulins, or natural immunity, which is the immunity that a person is born with or develops in response to diseases or vaccines.

Innate immunity and adaptive immunity are the two main categories of immunity. The initial line of protection against pathogens is innate immunity, which is present from birth. It comprises chemical barriers like enzymes and secretions as well as physical barriers like skin and mucous membranes. As opposed to immunisation, which is gained through exposure to a disease.

While adaptive immunity also known as acquired immunity is the third line of defence against invading pathogens in the immune system. It is a specific type of immunity that develops and responds to exposure to a pathogen or immunogen and is characterised by the production of antibodies and the activation of immune cells called t cells.

Passive Immunity

The term "passive immunity" refers to the immunity that is passed from one person to another, frequently through the exchange of antibodies. The brief protection against infectious diseases offered by passive immunity normally lasts between a few weeks and a few months. Several methods can be used to develop passive immunity

Passive immunity is not as long-lasting as active immunity, which is immunity that is produced by the individual's immune system in response to an infection or vaccine. Passive immunity can provide protection against certain infections in the short term, but it does not stimulate the individual's immune system to produce antibodies, so it does not provide long-term immunity.

Examples of Passive Immunity:

  • The transfer of maternal antibodies to a child in the womb is a good example of passive immunity. Maternal antibodies are immune system-produced proteins that aid in the foetus' defence against infection. These antibodies give short-term immunity while the growing foetus's immune system is still developing by crossing the placenta. This sort of immunity is transient and does not engage the immune system of the recipient. The transmission of maternal antibodies to a baby during pregnancy, the administration of immune globulin to guard against specific infections, and the transfer of antibodies or immune cells through blood transfusion or transplantation are just a few ways that passive immunity can be gained.
  • Giving immune globulin to prevent certain illnesses, such as hepatitis A and B, is another example of Passive immunity in action. A solution formed from human plasma called immune globulin has a lot of antibodies in it. When a person has been exposed to the virus or is at high risk of exposure, it is used to offer short-term protection against these infections.

Types of Passive Immunity

There are two main types of passive immunity: Natural and Artificial.

  1. Natural passive immunity occurs when a baby acquires immunity to certain infections through the transfer of antibodies from its mother through the placenta or breast milk. This type of passive immunity is temporary and typically lasts for a few weeks to a few months.
  2. Artificial passive immunity occurs when a person is intentionally given an injection of antibodies produced by another individual or animal. This can be done through the use of immunoglobulin, which is a preparation of concentrated antibodies that are produced in large quantities in the blood of donors who have been immunised against a particular disease. Artificial passive immunity is also temporary and typically lasts for a few weeks to a few months.

When is Passive Immunity Helpful?

  • To provide temporary immunity to people who have been exposed to certain infections, such as Hepatitis A or Rabies.
  • To provide temporary immunity to people who are at high risk of infection due to a compromised immune system.
  • To provide temporary immunity to people who have not had time to develop immunity after being vaccinated
  • To provide temporary immunity to people who cannot receive certain vaccines due to allergies or other medical conditions.

How to Produce Passive Immunity?

  1. Placenta: A baby can acquire passive immunity from its mother through the placenta. The mother's antibodies are transferred to the baby through the placenta, providing the baby with temporary immunity to certain infections.
  2. Breast milk: A baby can also acquire passive immunity through breast milk. Breast milk contains antibodies that are produced by the mother in response to infections and vaccines.
  3. Antibody-containing products: Passive immunity can also be produced through the injection of antibody-containing products, such as immunoglobulin, which contains a high concentration of antibodies that provide temporary immunity to certain infections.
  4. To produce passive immunity through the injection of antibody-containing products, the antibodies must be obtained from a donor who has been immunised against the specific disease for which immunity is desired. The antibodies are then purified and concentrated into a product, such as an immunoglobulin, which can be injected into the recipient.

Difference between Active Immunity and Passive Immunity

Property Active Immunity Passive Immunity
Definition The immunity that is acquired through the body`s own Immune system is Active Immunity. The immunity that is acquired through external factors is passive immunity.
Duration Long-lasting Short-lived
How it is acquired Naturally or artificially, through disease-causing agents or through vaccination. Naturally, through the transfer of antibodies from the mother to the foetus or artificially, through the administration of antibodies.
Involves Production of antibodies and activation of immune cells. Transfer of pre-formed antibodies.
Example Getting Chickenpox as a child confers lifelong immunity. Receiving vaccines for a disease develops immunity.

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