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Research projects

Development of edible flavivirus vaccines

About this project

Project information

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Magnus Johansson

Research subject

The size of the disease burden caused by flaviviruses, e.g. Dengue virus, Tick borne encephalitis virus, Yellow fever virus and Japanese encephalitis virus has reached enormous levels increasing human and animal populations at risk. As there are no antiviral drugs or specific therapies against flavivirus infections, vaccination remains as an important route for controlling several of these diseases.

Recently, expression systems in plants have been highlighted as an alternative way for the production of viral antigens to develop improved vaccines. These type of edible vaccines can offer an easy line of production and facilitate distribution with oral administration.

The flavivirus virion contains an envelope of the Membrane and Envelope (E) proteins anchored in a lipid bilayer. The external surface of the mature virus particle is comprised of 90 E dimers in an icosahedral scaffold. In this project we are expressing units and/or subunits of the structural flavivirus proteins in plants, e.g. Nicotiana benthamiana and Arabidopsis thaliana, to develop novel vaccine candidates.