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341 pages, Hardcover
First published September 28, 2021
For a microorganism you are an ecosystem waiting to be conquered.
Your body is wrapped in an ingenious self-repairing border wall that is incredibly hard to pass and that protects you extremely efficiently. If it is breached, your Innate Immune System reacts immediately. First your black rhinos, Macrophages, huge cells that swallow enemies whole, appear and dish out death. If they sense too many enemies they use cytokines, information proteins to call your chimp-with-machine-gun Neutrophils, the crazy suicide warriors of the Immune System. Neutrophils don't live long and their fighting is harmful to the body because they kill civilian cells. Both of these cells cause inflammation, bringing in fluid and reinforcements to an infection, making a battlefield swell up. One of the reinforcements is complement proteins, an army of millions of tiny proteins that passively support the immune cells in their fight and help mark, attach to, main, and clear enemies. These powerful teams together are enough for most small wounds and infections you encounter.
Your immune system has the power to kill you in about 15 minutes.
"... the killer T cell is a dude with a hammer that bashes heads in while laughing maniacally."
"The awakening of the adaptive immune system usually begins in the lymph node dating pools, where dendritic cells covered in hot dog buns filled with antigens try to find the right T cells.