The Ecology of Humans (7-32) Fighting for Survival

Fighting for Survival

Fighting an infection is a symphonic stimulation, requiring an orchestra of players: certain cells send signals that other receive, others mop up the chemicals used in sending signals; production of some cells accelerate, while others are deprived. Commensal microbes are in the thick of it: fighting those of their kind, albeit to save their own proverbial skin.

In the struggle to survive hostile microbes, adaptive immunity does not supersede innate immunity. By itself, acquired immunity affords little protection. The great advantage of adaptive immunity is that it coheres the immune response, driving innate immune mechanisms to efficacies that otherwise cannot be attained.