How Do Antibodies Work?

Updated July 20, 2017

Antibodies are part of the human immune system. Basically, they identify bad bacteria and viruses and track them down to fight back.


Antibodies are not always in full force in the body. When the body is invaded by anything unfamiliar, the body produces antibodies to fight it off. The antibodies recognise their target and attack it relentlessly until they rid the body of the unfamiliar substance. The problem with this is that antibodies can sometimes fight off medical therapy treatments, making the treatment less effective.

How They Work

When a pathogen, or a microorganism that makes a person ill, enters the body, the antibodies jump into action to fight them off. There are three different ways that antibodies do this. One is they bind themselves directly to the pathogen, which cuts off the pathogen's ties with other cells in the body. That directly neutralises the pathogen. Also, antibodies can bind and cover the pathogen so phagocytic cells can recognise it. The phagocytic cells, also part of the body's immune system, devour the cell once it is recognised as an enemy. The final way antibodies work is by binding to a pathogen and simulating a series of events to help the phagocytic cell recognise the pathogen.

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About the Author

Andrew Portela currently resides in New York where he has been freelance writing since 2005. His resume includes writing for websites like Appcraver, Inventorspot, and Ingamenow. Portela attended the College of Business Administration at UMass Boston.