Antibodies are uniquely powerful proteins that naturally occur in the body during an immune response. When molecules – also called antigens – from viruses and bacteria invade, the body produces antibodies to fight them.
Scientists in human health have developed antibody medicines that mimic naturally occurring antibodies. These are preformed antibodies, and they can take decades of research to bring to market. Scientists optimized these antibodies to target specific diseases. As a result, a greater number of antibodies can be present in the body to fight targeted disease without affecting other cells.
These preformed antibodies are Y-shaped. Think of the Y as two different arms that grab, or bind to, viruses and bacteria. We designed our antibody arms to bind to coronavirus, rotavirus, and E. coli bacteria. Our anti-viral and anti-bacterial preventative medicines grab hold of those pathogens, preventing pathogens from entering a cell and harming it. Directly, and rather immediately, preventing infection.
Antibody products versus vaccines
When a newborn calf is vaccinated for scours, it is receiving a small dose of the scours pathogens. Its body must do the work of stimulating antibody production to mount an immune response. The same goes for bred heifers and cows receiving a pre-calving vaccine designed to transfer specific anti-scour antibodies to calves via their colostrum.
The challenge with using a scours vaccine is you can’t determine if they indeed generated a protective immune response. Several factors can prevent immunization, such as animal stress and vaccine handling. Whether vaccinating the calf or using a pre-calving vaccine, vaccine-response variability regularly leaves 20 to 30 percent of calves unprotected.
Simply put, vaccination does not equal immunization.
An antibody product isn’t a vaccine. It is the end-game. It is literally the antibodies already preformed and guaranteed at a level proven to be protective in third-party studies. Calves given an antibody product receive protection directly. Immunization happens immediately without having to trigger an immune response. Because the antibodies are preformed and potency tested, you know the exact level of protection you are getting, and it’s consistent calf-to-calf. There’s no variability.
How we guarantee antibody levels
The colostrum from which our antibodies are purified comes from cows on a strict commercial scours vaccine program. In order to guarantee high levels of E. coli, coronavirus and rotavirus antibodies, these cows are also exposed to ImmuCell’s proprietary vaccine regimen.
Unlike a typical operation, if our donor cows calve early or late, if they miss a single shot within the regimen, or if timing of administration is off at all, we do not use their colostrum. That’s because the cows would not be at peak antibody levels and protection would be compromised.
Our antibodies are verified, veterinary biologics providing immediate, guaranteed levels of specific antibodies proven to protect against both bacterial and viral scours in newborn calves.