Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) has the potential to devastate a herd of cattle. The good news is, there is a BRD vaccination that can protect against this disease. The bad news is, BRD continues to be a significant health problem despite vaccination. Traditionally, vaccine effectiveness is determined by testing antibody titers, expression of cytokines, and other means of figuring out if the animal has mounted an adequate immunity. These methods, though, require time for the immune response to develop and can be very costly.

Researchers in Ireland wanted to find a method for testing vaccine efficacy earlier, so they looked to metabolomic profiling for a potential answer. Metabalomics is the study of a metabolites – products of cellular processes – in the body.  These researchers evaluated a new way of looking at a vaccine’s effectiveness by measuring metabolite markers. They vaccinated calves with an intranasal preparation of modified live viruses Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus (BRSV) and Bovine Parainfluenza Virus-3 (BPI3V). They then measured the resulting metabolites associated with the immune response. They found several markers that could be used to indicate success or failure of a vaccine!

This is an exciting development in the search for effective vaccines. This new method could allow for targeted vaccine design that could be more easily and quickly evaluated – meaning the process of vaccine development can be made more economical and effective!

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