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Trends Immunol. 2003 Jul;24(7):376-9.

The Gell-Coombs classification of hypersensitivity reactions: a re-interpretation.

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Department of Pathology, Room L-1037, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030-3105, USA. <>


Gell and Coombs classified hypersensitivity reactions into four 'types'. I suggest that the premise that these reactions represent 'hypersensitivity' manifestations is limiting and that they represent four major strategies that the body uses to combat infectious agents. I further propose that there is a fifth strategy that was not envisioned in the Gell and Coombs classification.

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