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Vaccine. 2012 Apr 19;30(19):2937-42. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.02.072. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Bioencapsulation of the hepatitis B surface antigen and its use as an effective oral immunogen.

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Applied Biotechnology Institute, Cal Poly Tech Park, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407, United States.


Hepatitis B remains a major global health problem despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Segments of the population lack access to or respond poorly to the parenteral vaccine, perpetuating the infection-transmission cycle. A low cost, orally delivered vaccine has the potential to alleviate many of these problems. Here we describe the expression of a bioencapsulated hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in maize and its immunogenicity, demonstrating for the first time a commercially feasible oral subunit vaccine production system for a major disease. This work surmounts previous barriers to plant-produced vaccines by expressing HBsAg at much higher levels and retaining antigen immunogenicity post-processing: factors which facilitated a robust immune response in mice without the need for an adjuvant. This method provides a practical solution to the delivery of a low-cost, stable oral vaccine.

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