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An antibody that will combine with and generally neutralize a particular toxin. When the manifestations of a disease are caused primarily by a microbial toxin, the corresponding antitoxin, if available in time, may have a pronounced prophylactic or curative effect. Apart from this, the other properties of an antitoxin are those of the antibody family (lgG, IgA, IgM) to which it belongs. See Antibody, Biologicals, Immunoglobulin
Antitoxins have been developed for nearly all microbial toxins. Diphtheria, tetanus, botulinus, gas gangrene, and scarlatinal toxins are important examples. Antitoxins may be formed in humans as a result of the disease or the carrier state, or following vaccination with toxoids, and these may confer active immunity. The status of this can be evaluated through skin tests, or by titration of the serum antitoxin level. See Botulism, Diphtheria, Immunity, Toxin-antitoxin reaction