Antigenic Shift vs Antigenic Drift- Definition and 16 Differences


Antigenic shift and antigenic drift are two mechanisms by which viruses can change their surface proteins (antigens) and evade the immune system of their hosts. Antigens are molecules that trigger an immune response when recognized by specific antibodies. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system that bind to antigens and neutralize or destroy them. By changing their antigens, viruses can escape the recognition of existing antibodies and infect new cells or hosts.