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Biotechnol Adv. 2012 Nov-Dec;30(6):1493-505. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2012.03.004. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Research advances in plant-made flavivirus antigens.

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Cátedra de Microbiología Industrial y Biotecnología, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires. Junín 956, CP 1113, C.A.B.A, Argentina.


Outbreaks of flaviviruses such as dengue (DV), yellow fever (YFV), Japanese encephalitis (JEV), tick-borne encephalitis (TBEV) and West Nile (WNV) affect numerous countries around the world. The fast spread of these viruses is the result of increases in the human population, rapid urbanisation and globalisation. While vector control is an important preventive measure against vector-borne diseases, it has failed to prevent the spread of these diseases, particularly in developing countries where the implementation of control measures is intermittent. As antiviral drugs against flaviviruses are not yet available, vaccination remains the most important tool for prevention. Although human vaccines for YFV, TBEV and JEV are available, on-going vaccination efforts are insufficient to prevent infection. No vaccines against DENV and WNV are available. Research advances have provided important tools for flavivirus vaccine development, such as the use of plants as a recombinant antigen production platform. This review summarises the research efforts in this area and highlights why a plant system is considered a necessary alternative production platform for high-tech subunit vaccines.

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