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Glossary

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Macrophage
A large white blood cell that can ingest foreign particles (i.e a phagocytic cell) and present antigens to other immune cells.

Memory
Immunological memory describes the ability of the immune system to remember a previous encounter with an antigen and to respond to this antigen with a heightened state of immunological reactivity.

Memory cells
T- and B cells formed during the primary contact with a foreign substance and through which immunological memory is mediated.

Multivalent
Multivalent vaccine is a vaccine containing more than one antigenic variant of an antigen.

Neutralizing antibody
Antibody that neutralizes or blocks the interaction of a microorganism or a toxin with a host target cell.

Opsonization
The process by which certain antibody or complement components (opsonins) bind to antigens and enhance their ingestion by phagocytic cells. The interaction between the opsonized antigens and phagocytic cells is mediated by specific antibody or complement receptors (C3b) on the phagocyte.

Passive immunization
Immunization by administering antibodies against a pathogen.

Pathogen
An organism capable of causing disease.

Phagocyte
A cell adapted to ingest and destroy bacteria or other particulate matter.

Plasma cell
An antibody secreting cell derived from an antigen activated B cell.

Polysaccharide
High molecular weight polymers of sugars.

Recombinant DNA technology
A powerful technology based on the ability to manipulate and propagate DNA segments (e.g. genes). Recombinant DNA technology has numerous applications. For instance, it can be used in the field of vaccine development to produce abundant amounts of antigens for use in vaccines or to genetically modifiy pathogens to produce attenuated vaccines.

Serogroup and serotype
Microorganisms, expressing variable antigens, can be classified according to the pattern of serological reactivity of these antigens into serogroups or serotypes.

Subunit vaccine
A vaccine comprising purified protective antigen(s) rather than the whole microorganism. The antigens are purified from either the disease-causing microorganism itself or produced from a cloned gene (i.e recombinant antigens).

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