Clinical Immunology and Autoimmunity

The clinical practice of Immunology, as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) encompasses clinical and laboratory activity dealing with the study, diagnosis and management of patients with diseases resulting from disordered immunological mechanisms, and conditions in which immunological manipulations form an important part of therapy. The clinical work of Immunologists is largely out-patient based and involves primary immunodeficiency, allergy, autoimmune rheumatic disease and systemic vasculitis (jointly with Rheumatologists), joint paediatric clinics for children with immunodeficiency and allergy and immunoglobulin infusion clinics for patients with antibody deficiency. On the laboratory front, Consultant Immunologists are responsible for directing diagnostic immunology services and perform a wide range of duties including clinical liaison, interpretation and validation of results, quality assurance and assay development.

Clinical immunology is the branch of Immunology that deals with studies of diseases caused due to immune system disorders. Clinical Immunology falls into two categories Immunodeficiency and Autoimmunity. Immunodeficiency is a category in which adequate response is not provided by the immune system. Whereas in Autoimmunity the immune system attacks its own host body.

Autoimmunity occurs when an organism develops an immune response against itself, resulting in an inflammatory reaction which damages organs such as brain, joints or pancreas. This results in diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, vasculitis, or rheumatoid arthritis. A fine balance exists in order to accommodate the control of microbial pathogens and commensals, and immune self-tolerance.