Bacteria, viruses… how does our body protect itself?

We live in a veritable broth of culture. The air we breathe, the water in which we swim, our clothes harbor millions of bacteria, viruses and various fungi. To be convinced of this, all you have to do is leave a little food at room temperature for a few days: mold will quickly develop there. The body of an adult harbors tens of billions of micro-organisms. 500 species of bacteria are present in our organs and on our skin. Our intestines alone would contain more than a kilogram.

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Most of these microbes are harmless, but some are not. Even with scrupulous hygiene, our hands are covered with millions of bacteria, including the famous staphylococcus aureus, responsible for most skin infections and nosocomial illnesses contracted in hospital. And yet, this seemingly hostile environment generally has little effect on our health. Because during evolution our body has implemented incredibly effective techniques to avoid the onslaught of this microscopic fauna.

The semi-permeable blood-brain membrane isolates the brain and spinal cord from blood circulation. It plays a role of filter, determines which substances present in the (…)

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