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I recently saw a question about monoclonal antibodies, that are specific to a certain virus, being split (into their constant and variable regions via an enzyme), and the question asked whether some statements were false or true.

One of the statements said that the virus could be engulfed by phagocytes if any were present. The statement turned out to be false and I'm not completely sure why. Is it because phagocytes need fully intact antibodies to function so that they can attach to them via receptors specific to the constant region of the antibodies consequently becoming attached to the virus and so being able to engulf it?

I thought that phagocytes could work on their own and that antibodies just made their job easier. Is that assumption correct?

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Phagocytes don't necessarily need antibodies to recognize intruders, i.e. by presence of non-self sugars. Additionally, phagocytes can aid amplification of effective anti-bodies by presenting degraded pathogens to the adaptive immune-system. I found this concise summary of the innate immune system, that I would strongly recommend to read!

Now to your more specific question: Detection of viruses. You have to consider, that viruses are highly optimized to evade the innate immune system:

Viruses can happily replicate and mutate without proof-reading without negative consequences and with relatively low conceptual constraints, as they are so simple, compared to cells. This is why the innate immune-system is prone to miss viruses (at least those, that are optimized for a certain species). Imagine how big of a genome you would need to cover all possible viral substances by at least 1 innate gene! Read about hyper-mutation to understand the role of antibodies to detect even these highly evasive viruses.

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