Prime boost in cattle shows promise in food-animal production

calendar icon 11 May 2021
clock icon 3 minute read

Heterologous prime-boost technology, often referred to simply as “prime boost,” has been widely adopted in the US cattle industry,1 but like any new process, its value needs to be documented before veterinarians in the pork industry are comfortable recommending it, Greg Edwards, DVM, an independent bovine veterinary consultant, told a group of swine veterinarians.

“When we vaccinate, we are trying to increase individual and herd immunity,” he said (Figure 1). “Herd immunity increases with vaccination, and higher herd immunity helps cattle withstand variations in disease pressure.”

There’s a learning curve, according to the consulting dairy veterinarian, but he hopes pork producers can piggy-back on the work that’s already been done in the cattle industry.

The benefits of prime boost boil down to immunity, Edwards said.

According to Edwards, the heterologous prime-boost strategy involves priming the immune system with a target antigen delivered by one vector, route or mechanism and then selectively boosting this immunity by re-administering the antigen in the context of a second and distinct method.2

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