Biology (11th Edition)

Published by McGraw-Hill Education
ISBN 10: 1-25918-813-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-25918-813-8

Chapter 51 - The Immune System - 51.7 Pathogens That Evade the Immune System - Inquiry Question: 1

Answer

Smallpox could be eliminated, but not influenza, because smallpox changes slowly, meaning that a vaccine can act against it in a large population over a long time. Influenza, however, changes rapidly and a new vaccine is needed every year. This happens too fast for the elimination of influenza.

Work Step by Step

This highlights the limitation on the effectiveness of the immune system presented by targets which change antigens rapidly--the immune system has a hard time keeping up.
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