Summary
Antiserum is a blood serum containing monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies that is used to spread passive immunity to many diseases via blood donation (plasmapheresis). For example, convalescent serum, passive antibody transfusion from a previous human survivor, used to be the only known effective treatment for ebola infection with a high success rate of 7 out of 8 patients surviving. Antisera are widely used in diagnostic virology laboratories. The most common use of antiserum in humans is as antitoxin or antivenom to treat envenomation. Serum therapy, also known as serotherapy, describes the treatment of infectious disease using the serum of animals that have been immunized against the specific organisms or their product, to which the disease is supposedly referable. In 1890, Emil Behring and Kitasato Shibasaburō published their first paper on serum therapy. Behring had pioneered the technique, using guinea pigs to produce serum. Based on his observation that people who survived infection with the diphtheria bacterium never became infected again, he discovered that the body continually produces an antitoxin, which prevents survivors of infections from being infected again with the same agent. It was necessary for Behring to immunize larger animals in order to produce enough serum to protect humans, because the amount of antiserum produced by guinea pigs was too little to be practical. Horses proved to be the best serum producer, as the serum of other large animals is not concentrated enough, and horses were not believed to carry any diseases that could be transferred to humans. Due to the First World War, a large number of horses were needed for military purposes. It was difficult for Behring to find enough German horses for his serum facility. He chose to obtain horses from Eastern European countries, mostly Hungary and Poland. Because of Behring's limited financial resources, most horses he selected had been intended for slaughter; however, the usefulness of the animal to others had no influence on the production of serum.
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Antiserum
Antiserum is a blood serum containing monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies that is used to spread passive immunity to many diseases via blood donation (plasmapheresis). For example, convalescent serum, passive antibody transfusion from a previous human survivor, used to be the only known effective treatment for ebola infection with a high success rate of 7 out of 8 patients surviving. Antisera are widely used in diagnostic virology laboratories. The most common use of antiserum in humans is as antitoxin or antivenom to treat envenomation.
Passive immunity
Passive immunity is the transfer of active humoral immunity of ready-made antibodies. Passive immunity can occur naturally, when maternal antibodies are transferred to the fetus through the placenta, and it can also be induced artificially, when high levels of antibodies specific to a pathogen or toxin (obtained from humans, horses, or other animals) are transferred to non-immune persons through blood products that contain antibodies, such as in immunoglobulin therapy or antiserum therapy.
COVID-19
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease quickly spread worldwide, resulting in the COVID-19 pandemic. The symptoms of COVID‐19 are variable but often include fever, cough, headache, fatigue, breathing difficulties, loss of smell, and loss of taste. Symptoms may begin one to fourteen days after exposure to the virus. At least a third of people who are infected do not develop noticeable symptoms.
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