Microbial Forensics Host Factors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter presents the elements of the host response in a simplified fashion. Microbial forensics aims at identifying: the biological agent, its source, and the individuals responsible for a biothreat event. Analytic approaches differ when the suspected biothreat agent is encountered in a container or the environment, as opposed to a human or an animal. However, once the microbe or its toxin is in the living host, all the preceding items except the microbial nucleic acid cannot be analyzed. Nevertheless, the host response to the biological agent is available for analysis. The host response to a foreign substance is often a well orchestrated series of events designed to protect the individual from any harm. Modern techniques help to elucidate the pathways and components of the host response. Similar to a live microbe, vaccines can also provoke an antibody response. A vaccine can compose of: a live or attenuated microbe, a whole nonproliferating microbe, or an antigenic part of the microbe. Regardless, the intent of the vaccine is to produce protection, often by protective antibodies. It is likely that the future understanding of the immune system and evolving technologies; such as microarrays will enhance analytic power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMicrobial Forensics
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780120884834
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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