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Antiserum vs. Antibody: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 9, 2024
Antiserum is a blood serum containing antibodies against specific antigens, while an antibody is a protein produced by the immune system to neutralize pathogens.

Key Differences

Antiserum is a serum derived from the blood of an immunized individual or animal, containing a high concentration of antibodies. Antibodies, in contrast, are specific proteins produced by B-cells in the immune system, designed to recognize and bind to antigens, such as viruses or bacteria.
Antibody production is a key immune response, with each antibody being specific to a particular antigen. Antiserum, on the other hand, is a broader term encompassing a collection of antibodies, typically produced in response to exposure to a particular pathogen or toxin.
In medical treatments, antiserum can be used for passive immunity, as it provides immediate but temporary protection by introducing external antibodies. Antibodies themselves, whether naturally produced or introduced through antiserum, play a crucial role in identifying and neutralizing pathogens.
The creation of antiserum involves stimulating an immune response in a host and then harvesting the serum, which contains the antibodies. Each antibody within the antiserum has a unique structure that enables it to bind specifically to its corresponding antigen.
Antiserum is a practical application of immunology, offering a ready-made solution of antibodies, while antibodies are the fundamental components of the body’s adaptive immune response, each uniquely designed to combat specific antigens.

Comparison Chart


Blood serum with antibodies against antigens
A protein produced by immune cells to fight pathogens


Derived from immunized individuals or animals
Produced by B-cells in the immune system

Role in Immunity

Provides passive immunity
Key element in active immune response


Contains multiple antibodies, less specific
Highly specific to particular antigens

Duration of Effect

Temporary protection
Long-lasting immunity through memory cells

Antiserum and Antibody Definitions


Antiserum is a therapeutic preparation used in passive immunization.
To treat the infection, doctors injected antiserum into the patient.


Antibodies are immune molecules binding to specific antigens.
Antibodies latched onto the bacteria, marking them for destruction.


Antiserum is a serum containing antibodies for specific antigens.
The hospital administered snakebite antiserum to neutralize the venom.


Each antibody has a unique structure to target a specific antigen.
The laboratory analyzed the antibody’s structure for vaccine development.


Antiserum is a blood-derived product rich in antibodies for immunity.
The laboratory produced antiserum for research on immune responses.


An antibody is a protein that identifies and neutralizes pathogens.
The vaccine stimulated the production of antibodies against the flu.


Antiserum is used in diagnostic tests to detect specific antigens.
The test used antiserum to identify the presence of the virus.


Antibodies play a crucial role in adaptive immune responses.
The patient's antibodies successfully fought off the infection.


Antiserum provides immediate but temporary protection against diseases.
Travelers received antiserum as a precaution against endemic diseases.


Antibodies can be natural or induced through vaccination.
After vaccination, her body produced antibodies against the virus.


Human or animal serum containing antibodies that are specific for one or more antigens.


Any of numerous Y-shaped glycoproteins that bind to specific antigens and either neutralize them or cause them to be destroyed by other elements of the immune system, such as phagocytes, cytotoxic cells, or complement proteins. Antibodies occur as antigen receptors on the surface of B cells and are secreted as soluble proteins when the B cells mature into plasma cells. Antibodies are also called "immunoglobulins."


(medicine) A serum prepared from human or animal sources containing antibodies able to counter certain diseases or toxins.


(immunology) A protein produced by B-lymphocytes that binds to a specific antigen.


Blood serum containing antibodies against specific antigens; provides immunity to a disease


Any of various bodies or substances in the blood which act in antagonism to harmful foreign bodies, as toxins or the bacteria producing the toxins. Normal blood serum apparently contains various antibodies, and the introduction of toxins or of foreign cells also stimulates production of their specific antibodies by the immune system.


More narrowly, any of the immunoglobulins present in the blood serum or other body fluids of an animal, which reacts with a specific antigenic substance, whether the antibody was produced as a consequence of the stimulus provided by the antigen, or was pre-existing prior to exposure of the organism to the antigen.


Any of a large variety of proteins normally present in the body or produced in response to an antigen which it neutralizes, thus producing an immune response


What is an antibody?

An antibody is a protein made by the immune system to fight pathogens.

Is antiserum still used in modern medicine?

Yes, for specific treatments and diagnostics.

How specific are antibodies?

Each antibody is highly specific to a particular antigen.

What is antiserum?

Antiserum is a serum containing antibodies against specific antigens.

Can antiserum provide long-term immunity?

No, it offers immediate but temporary protection.

How long do antibodies last in the body?

It varies, but some can last for years.

What is the main use of antiserum?

It's used for passive immunity and in diagnostic tests.

How does the body produce antibodies?

Antibodies are produced by B-cells in response to antigens.

Do all antibodies have the same structure?

No, each has a unique structure for specific antigens.

How is antiserum produced?

It's derived from the blood of immunized individuals or animals.

Is antiserum effective against all diseases?

No, its effectiveness depends on the specific antibodies present.

Are antibodies only found in humans?

No, all vertebrates produce antibodies.

Can antiserum cause allergic reactions?

Yes, especially if derived from a different species.

What is the difference between antiserum and vaccine?

Antiserum provides immediate immunity, while vaccines induce long-term immunity.

Are antibodies visible under a microscope?

Not with standard microscopes due to their small size.

Can a person be allergic to their own antibodies?

Normally no, but autoimmune disorders involve such reactions.

Can antibodies be artificially created?

Yes, through techniques like monoclonal antibody production.

Do antibiotics and antibodies work similarly?

No, antibiotics are drugs that kill bacteria, while antibodies target a wider range of pathogens.

How are antibodies used in research?

They're used in diagnostics, therapeutics, and studying immune responses.

Is antiserum a substitute for vaccination?

No, it's a temporary measure, while vaccines provide long-term immunity.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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