Glossary Term: Recombinant Vaccine
Definition: Pronunciation Key: Ree-com-bin-ant vack-sine
Vaccination of our pets has caused much discussion over the last few years. Why? Because as researchers learn more and pets live longer, it has been found that while vaccines definitely protect animals from disease, they may also cause disease in susceptible individuals. Both the frequency and types of vaccines used are now something that one should discuss with your veterinarian, as the recommendations can vary greatly from pet to pet. Recombinant vaccines are created by utilizing bacteria or yeast to produce large quantities of a single viral or bacterial protein. This protein is then purified and injected into the patient. The patient's immune system then makes antibodies to the disease agent's protein, protecting the patient from natural disease. This process is known as vaccination. In contrast, traditional vaccines are made by killing or weakening the actual disease organism (virus, bacteria, fungus, etc.) and injecting it into the patient to stimulate the patient's immune system to produce antibodies against the disease. Then, in theory, if the patient came in natural contact with the disease organism, the body's immune system would mount a response and prevent illness in the patient. Advantages of the recombinant vaccine technology are that there is virtually no chance of the host becoming ill from the agent, since it is just a single protein, not the organism itself.
Recombinant vaccine is an interest to me because one of my dog has reacted to vaccines. So splitting up his vaccines over weeks and monitoring him for reactions after he is vaccinated is required.