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A virus like SARS can shut down cytokine production, enabling it to multiply to higher levels and causing significant infection and even death. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kevin Frayer)

Explainer: How the human body first fights off pathogens

We've all endured infections. Here's how it works when our bodies are attacked by viruses, bacteria or parasites, and our innate immune system becomes the first line of defence.
The only thing standing between invaders such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi and our devastation is our immune system. kurtxio/Flickr

Explainer: how does the immune system learn?

The immune system does such a good job most of the time that we only really think about it when things go wrong. But to provide such excellent protection, it must constantly learn.
The innate immune response causes the common signs of inflammation including swelling, pain, heat, redness and loss of function. Brandon Daniel/Flickr

Explainer: how does the immune system work?

The immune system is critical for protecting against illness-causing organisms, such as viruses, bacteria and fungi, which are collectively known as pathogens. Without it, we would quickly become infected…

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