What is the difference between Antigens and Antibodies?

Antibodies and antigens play significant but distinct roles in illness and disease. Read on to find out the difference and role of antigens and antibodies in your health.
Created On: Oct 5, 2021 12:38 IST
Modified On: Oct 5, 2021 12:42 IST
Antigens Vs Antibodies
Antigens Vs Antibodies

As we know that an antigen can make us sick and antibodies defend our body against antigens. With the focus on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, antigens and antibodies were interchangeably a part of the discussion. What role do antigens and antibodies play in developing an effective vaccine? What is the difference between antigens and antibodies? Let us find out!

What is an Antigen?

Antigens are also known as immunogens. They are substances or toxins in the blood that trigger the body to fight them. Usually, antigens are bacteria or viruses but they can be other substances from outside the body that threaten health. This is known as an immune response. 

Or we can say that antigens are molecules capable of reviving or stimulating an immune response. Each antigen has different surface features resulting in particular responses.

What is an Antibody?

Antibodies are also known as immunoglobulins or lg. In our body B lymphocytes or B cells of the immune system make antibodies. Antibodies are Y-shaped proteins. B cells attack viruses and other toxins outside the cell. This is done by generating specific antibodies for a single type of antigen. 

Therefore, antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to antigens. The response of an antibody to a particular antigen is specific and may involve a physical association between the two molecules. This is governed by biochemical and molecular forces. 

Difference between Antigens and Antibodies

Antigens Antibodies
Known as immunogens. Known as immunoglobulins or lg.
Substances that can induce an immune response. Proteins that recognise and bind to antigens.
Mainly, proteins may also be polysaccharides, lipids, or nucleic acids. Antibodies are  proteins 
 Specific binding site is an epitope Specific binding site is a Paratope.
Located inside the body or externally. Located inside the body.
They may cause allergic reactions or even illness. Protect against the effects of the antigen either by lysis or immobilisation of the particle

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