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Updated October 14, 2008


An antibody is a protein produced by the immune system in response to the presence of an antigen.

Definition: A protein used by the immune system to help destroy a virus or other invader. These proteins, called immunoglobulins (IG), are made by cells called lymphocytes that help defend the body.

Not only are antibodies an important tool the body uses to fight viral hepatitis infection, they can also be applied as therapy in the case of many different diseases. In the case of hepatitis, for example, clinicians can use antibodies to treat people exposed to hepatitis A or B. The risk of infection from these viruses can be lowered by taking a highly concentrated dose of purified IG which can help the immune system to quickly remove the hepatitis A or B virus before they have a chance to cause a lot of harm. Unfortunately, this method is expensive, painful and carries its own risks.

Also Known As: Secreted immunoglobulin
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