BRD Research: 1983-2009

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Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) research has provided significant knowledge and understanding of the disease since a 1983 symposium on the subject, according to Robert W. Fulton, DVM, PhD, Oklahoma State University. Modern research tools have been used including monoclonal antibodies, genomics including hybridization, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunohistochemistry (IHC), recombinant-DNA, genomic sequencing , ELISA assays, antigen-capture ELISA tests, DNA vaccines, and viral vectors coding for immunogens. Emerging-reemerging viruses and new antigenic strains of viruses and bacteria were identified. Methods of detection and the role for  persistently infected bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) cattle were also identified.

With the tools available, viral subunits, cellular components, and bacterial products have been characterized. Advances in immunology permitted detection and measurement of immune responses to various agents. Product advances have included vaccines for bovine respiratory syncytial virus , Mannheimia haemolytica, Pasteurella multocida, and the addition of BVDV 2 to the existing vaccines, as well a new line of antibiotics.

Mycoplasma spp, particularly M. bovis in BRD, has been more extensively studied to define the role as a primary and/or secondary invader, and to attempt immunization to control the agent. Bovine immunology research now studies various subsets of the T-cells such as Th1 and Th2 and components of host immunity they drive, as measured by the cytokines produced and the cytokine network. Regulation of the immune system by T regulatory cells is beginning to be investigated. The molecular and genetic basis for the viral-bacterial synergy has been described assisting understanding how viruses and bacteria interact for severe BRD.

Attempts have been made to document prevention of BRD by proper vaccination and management prior to exposure to infectious agents will minimize disease and serve as economic incentives for certified health programs.

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