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13.5. Types of immunity

Types of immunity

An organism is immune to a certain antigen when it is capable of canceling it without presenting a pathological reaction. Therefore, the immunity is the ability of the body to resist infection.

There are several types of immunity:

  • Innate or congenital immunity. Natural immunity provided by nonspecific defense mechanisms (not specific for each pathogen), without immunological memory and present before exposure to antigens. Innate immunity is acquired from birth and is specific to race, species, etc. It cannot recognize pathogens nor does it increase with exposure. Innate immunity is a much faster response than acquired immunity. Innate immunity does not generate immune memory. An example of innate immunity would be the inability of a person to be affected by swine fever or bird flu.
  • Acquired or adaptive immunity. It is acquired throughout life from contact with the pathogen. It is a slow response and generates immune memory.

Questions that have come out in University entrance exams (Selectividad, EBAU, EvAU)

Valencian Community, June 2019, option A, block 4, question 9

Briefly explain the concept and types of natural immunity.

Extremadura, June 2019, option A, question 5

A. Regarding Immunity: meaning of the terms "natural", "artificial", "active" and "passive". Based on them, qualify the type of immunity that usually arises as a consequence of: (1 point).

Having an infection with a pathogen.

Receive a vaccination.


Receive an immune serum.

B. Mutation: concept and classification according to its extension. Explain gene mutations. (1 point)

Valencian Community, July 2019, option B, block 4, question 10

Humans have mechanisms or systems that prevent pathogenic microorganisms from causing infections. Once the microorganism manages to jump the defensive barriers, the immune response is activated. Explain the differences between innate or nonspecific immunity and adaptive, acquired, or specific immunity.

Aragon, June 2021, question 10

10.- GnRH is a protein hormone that the animal begins to produce in large quantities when it is an adult. It is related to sexual development and reproduction. In some animal species, immunocastration is being applied as an alternative to surgical castration, in order to avoid trauma from the operation. To do this, when the animal is very young, a modified dose of GnRH is administered and a few weeks later another booster dose is administered. Thus, when the animal later reaches adulthood and begins to produce its own GnRH, its immune system destroys it, preventing the animal's sexual development. (2 points)

a) Describe what the immune response obtained by administering the first dose and the second dose of modified GnRH will be like and what is called. (0.5 p)
b) What type of immunity is it? (0.2 p)
c) What are the molecules that the immune system produces to neutralize the modified hormone that is administered called? What cells produce them? (0.5 p)
d) If instead of following this strategy, anti-GnRH antibodies were administered when the animal is very young, would we obtain the same effect? Reason for the answer. (0.5 p)
e) In general, what is the name of the strategy proposed in section “d”? What type of immunity is it? (0.3 p)

La Rioja, June 2021, question 19

As in any other infection, the human immune system reacts to the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection with different "weapons" and at different stages. There is an innate response (innate immunity) and an acquired one. Explain the main differences between the two types of immunity.

Navarra, June 2021, question 19

a) What is an active immunization?

b) What is a passive immunization?

c) Why is it convenient for some viruses such as influenza to be vaccinated every year?

Asturias, July 2021, question 5B

The Spanish Society of Neurobiology (SEN) estimates that in Spain there could be around 800,000 people with Alzheimer's disease. A new clinical trial is aimed at stopping the development of this disease through a vaccine. This consists of the injection of a fragment of amyloid protein involved in the development of the disease so that the patient's immune system is stimulated by producing its own glycoproteins against said protein.

a. What type of immunity does the text refer to? (Maximum score 0.5 points)
b. In relation to the immune system, what would you call the injected protein fragment? What about glycoproteins? Name the cells that produce the latter. (Maximum score 1.5 points)

Galicia, July 2021, question 8c

There are four types of immunity: natural active, natural passive, artificial active, and artificial passive. Using these terms, indicate to what type of immunity those obtained through vaccination, suffering from a disease, fluid therapy and breastfeeding belong.



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