Antibodies fight antigens. Right? Every chemical list says so. Even the hoverdoc's cure glossary says so.
Well... as much sense as that makes, I'm having an impossible time proving that true. I can't find any chemical reaction genes that indicate as such, and if I inject a norn with an antibody and follow it up with an antigen injection, it doesn't seem to decay any faster than if no antibodies were present.
No.. the way the reaction equation works is something like this: Antigen X = Antibody X + side effect X
For example, the CFE bruin genome states that 2 antigen 0 = 12 Antibody 0 + 1 histamine B
Antibodies don't seem to actually fight antigens. Antibodies are what the immune system turns antibodies into; essentially, they are a by-product of the body's attempt to fight the infection. In this second graph, I manually lowered the concentration of antibody 0 several times (hence the jagged blue line) and the concentration had absolutely no effect on the rate of decay of the antigen; it follows the same steady curve.
So if antibodies don't fight antigens, what are you supposed to give an ill creature? It is a bit daunting to suddenly find that those antibody-filled lemons aren't doing a thing for a creature's immunity.
What a creature really needs to fight antigens is Vitamin C; this chemical speeds up the reaction rate of the antigen-to-antibody conversion. As a disclaimer though, you want to be very careful using vitamin C to cure antigen 5 (we'll get to exactly why in a minute). Sadly, the only source of Vitamin C I am aware of is found in the vitamin potion from the potion machine on the C3 bridge, meaning DS-standalone worlds will have to find a non-native way to get this vitamin.
But not only does Vitamin C speed up the antigen conversion, it also speeds up the clock rate of the bones organ, which is responsible for the creation of Prostaglandin, the chemical used to heal the organs injured by the antigens. Vitamin C really is quite the healer! Just be sure the creature is eating enough fat and protein, as those are broken down into the chemicals necessary for Prostaglandin synthesis.
But let's step back a bit to talk a little more about antigens themselves. As mentioned earlier, the immune system breaks antigens down into antibodies and a "side effect" chemical. The side effects are as follows:
- Antigen 0 -- Histamine B
- Antigen 1 -- Histamine A
- Antigen 2 -- Coldness
- Antigen 3 -- Coldness
- Antigen 4 -- Hotness
- Antigen 5 -- Wounded
- Antigen 6 -- Hotness
- Antigen 7 -- Pain
Most of these side effects are rather harmless, and act more as symptoms of the infection than anything. But antigen 5's side effect is quite the opposite, in fact; it is deadlier than the antigen itself. Woundedness is a chemical that will instantly kill the creature if it gets too high.
There is more to know about antigens, particularly which organs they attack. In the next installment (which I haven't actually started writing yet, and still have some research to do, so it'll likely be a while) I plan to detail the functions of each organ so you can have some context as to what exactly is at stake when dealing with antigens.