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Crop Biotech Update

Plant-Produced Vaccine Candidate for Bluetongue Virus

May 31, 2017

Bluetongue is a disease of domestic and wild ruminants caused by the bluetongue virus (BTV), which have caused serious outbreaks worldwide. Commercially available vaccines are live-attenuated or inactivated virus strains, which are not able to distinguish naturally infected animals from vaccinated animals. Recombinant vaccines are preferable to minimize the risks related to these vaccines.

The team of Albertha R. van Zyl from the University of Cape Town in South Africa developed two plant-produced vaccines, Zera®-VP2ep and Zera®-VP2. Both these candidate vaccines were made in tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) via transient Agrobacterium-mediated expression, and analysis showed that the proteins accumulated within the cytoplasm of plant cells.

Preliminary studies showed that the two vaccine candidates elicited anti-VP2 immune responses in mice. These results prove that Zera®-VP2ep and Zera®-VP2 can be potential BTV vaccines.

For more on this study, read the article in BMC Biotechnology.