Imagine non-specific immune system as artillery, and specific immunity as snipers.
When an infection occurs, the innate non-specific immune system will launch an attack. It can't really work selectively, but it has tools to combat a wide variety of threats - granolucytes can release large amounts of toxins, phagocytes will do their best to eat up all non-self cells.. but they do damage to the surrounding tissue, and are not very efficient.
Then the acquire immunity kicks in, and specific antibodies and T/B-cells come in to specifically kill the harmful bacteria or infected cells, while leaving the rest of the tissue fairly much unharmed.
Why we need both? The acquired immune system needs a few days to adapt to this new threat and form specific antigens and cells to combat this one type of threat. The innate immunity can keep the infection under control until your acquired immunity kicks in.
There exists a disease in which the patient cannot form B cells, these patients often have large infections with lots of puss due to the collateral damage from the innate immune system.
· 6 years ago