Everybody gets sick now and then. But if it weren’t for antibodies – the weapons that help our immune systems fight viruses, bacteria or even cancer cells – some illnesses would be much more frequent and potentially lethal.
It’s no wonder medical innovators have mimicked this biological superpower in their work to treat suffering patients. Their centuries-long pursuit to produce better, faster medicine based on the principles of naturally occurring antibodies continues to improve
While antibody medicines are now standard treatments for some diseases, the science behind them is not new. In fact, antibodies were first tapped for disease prevention in 1796, when the smallpox virus was causing widespread death and disfigurement. English physician Edward Jenner realized that cowpox pus could trigger a person’s antibody defense system and successfully prevent against smallpox. It’s the first disease eradicated by a vaccine – and Jenner was the first of many “antibody architects” to come.
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