Passive Immunity Definition

Immunity (protection from infection) that occurs without activation of the immune response.

A newborn has passive immunity from the antibodies in his or her mother’s blood at the time of birth and continues to receive limited antibody protection for the duration of breastfeeding.

Passive immunity also occurs when a person receives gammaglobulin that contains antibodies present in the blood (plasma) of the donors who are the source for the gammaglobulin.

For further discussion of immunity within the context of the structures and functions of the immune system, please see the overview section “The Immune System and Allergies.”


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