Losing immunity to a virus

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Not losing immunity when virus mutates

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I once read that just because a virus mutates doesn't mean you lose immunity to it. I do not know much biology, but could one of you please explain how that is possible?
 

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jim mcnamara
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Short answer - virus is made of different building blocks - the ones on the outside of the virus count for immunity. Our immune system cannot "see" into the inside of the virus and look at internal building blocks.
So the internal ones can change (mutate) and our immune system will still see it as a bad guy.

Change the outside building and it fakes out the immune system. So that kind of mutation does not trigger an immune response. It is like the joke:
What did Tarzan say when the elephants came by?
Here come the elephants.
What did Tarzan say when the elephants came by wearing sunglasses?
Nothing. He did not recognize them.
It always helps us to help you if you can tell us pretty exactly where you got something from. This comment has been all over the internet, so let's let it slide.

Next time, help us out, okay?
 
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Thank you!
 
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berkeman
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Me Tarzan. You, um, not sure. Nice sunglasses though... :cool:
 
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Also, for some viruses we never develop immunity, and for others, immunity wanes over time despite no significant mutations. How long immunity lasts (assuming the virus doesn't change) varies a lot.
 
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jim mcnamara
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A measles infection can "wipe out immune memory" of 20% to 50% of previous infections, effectively removing immunity for an array of diseases, including immunizations. I was told that this was one of the reasons for children getting booster shots.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191031204630.htm
 
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Laroxe
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A measles infection can "wipe out immune memory" of 20% to 50% of previous infections, effectively removing immunity for an array of diseases, including immunizations. I was told that this was one of the reasons for children getting booster shots.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191031204630.htm
Yes, apparently the virus targets the cells responsible for antibody production and also the memory cells that are retained following recovery from an illness, this can in some people suppress the immune response for up to two years. The vaccine virus is severely weakened and doesn't seem capable of causing this sort of damage.
 

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