The key difference between antitoxin and toxoid is that antitoxin is a passive immunization agent while toxoid is an active immunization agent.
There are two types of immunity to infectious diseases: they are active and passive immunity. Active immunity occurs when a person is exposed to a diseased organism, triggering the immune system to produce antibodies. A good example of active immunity is the introduction of a killed weakened form of disease through vaccination. Passive immunity occurs when a person is given antibodies to a particular disease rather than producing these antibodies through that person’s own immune system. Moreover, agents that trigger active and passive immunity are called active immunization agents and passive immunization agents, respectively. Antitoxin and toxoid are two different agents used to trigger passive and active immunity against infectious diseases.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is an Antitoxin
3. What is a Toxoid
4. Similarities – Antitoxin and Toxoid
5. Antitoxin vs Toxoid in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Antitoxin vs Toxoid
What is an Antitoxin?
Antitoxin is an antibody that has the ability to neutralize a specific toxin. Antitoxin production takes place in certain animals, plants, and bacteria in response to toxin exposure. Generally, antitoxins are most effective in neutralizing toxins. However, they can kill bacteria and other microorganisms. They are made within organisms and can then be injected into other organisms, including humans. Therefore, they can be used to treat infectious diseases. The antitoxin production procedure involves injecting an animal with a safe amount of a particular toxin. The body of the animal makes the antitoxin to neutralize the toxin. Later, blood is withdrawn from the animal, and the antitoxin is obtained from the blood.
Antitoxins are passive immunization agents. They are used to treat some infections. They do not give long-term protection like vaccines. A well-known antitoxin is diphtheria antitoxin, which provides protection against the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Diphtheria antitoxin is made from horse blood.
What is a Toxoid?
Toxoid is an inactivated toxin that can be used as a vaccine. The toxicity of toxoids has been suppressed either by chemical or heat treatment. But the immunogenicity of the toxoid is still maintained. Therefore, toxoids are altered forms of toxins extracted from bacteria. During vaccination, an immune response is triggered, and immunological memory is formed against these toxoids without inducing the illness.
There are numerous toxoids for the prevention of diphtheria, tetanus, and botulism. For example, the tetanus toxoid is derived from the tetanospasmin generated by Clostridium tetani. DTaP and Tdap are both combination vaccines that contain toxoids of causative agents of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Toxoids are also used to produce conjugate vaccines as well. In a conjugate vaccine that contains a weak antigen with a strong antigen as a carrier, the immune system shows a stronger response to the weak antigen. Sometimes people complain about the side effects of the vaccine. These side effects are associated with the process of mounting the immune response, not the direct effects of the toxoid.
What are the Similarities Between Antitoxin and Toxoid?
- Antitoxin and toxoid are two different agents used to trigger passive and active immunity against infectious diseases.
- Both can be protein in nature.
- They are extremely important in eradicating infectious diseases such as bacterial diseases, viral diseases, etc.
- Both can cause minor side effects.
- They are cost-effective.
What is the Difference Between Antitoxin and Toxoid?
Antitoxin is a passive immunization agent, while toxoid is an active immunization agent. Thus, this is the key difference between antitoxin and toxoid. Furthermore, antitoxin does not give long-term protection against infectious diseases, while toxoid provides long-term protection against infectious diseases.
The below infographic presents the differences between antitoxin and toxoid in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Antitoxin vs Toxoid
Antitoxin and toxoid are two different agents used to trigger passive and active immunity against infectious diseases in humans. They are extremely important for mitigating infectious diseases worldwide yearly. Antitoxin is a passive immunization agent, while toxoid is an active immunization agent. Antitoxin does not provide long-term protection, while toxoid does. So, this is the key difference between antitoxin and toxoid.
1. “Antitoxins.” An Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.
2. Shabir, Dr. Osman. “What Is a Toxoid Vaccine?” News, 28 Oct. 2022.
1. “Bottle of tetanus antitoxin, Germany. Full view, graduated g Wellcome L0058962 (cropped)” By Welcome Gallery (CC-BY-4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Types of Vaccines” By Volker Vetter, Gülhan Denizer, Leonard R. Friedland, Jyothsna Krishnan, Marla Shapiro – Tandf Online (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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