Medicago: production of influenza virus-like particles in plants
Medicago Inc. announces a breakthrough
by using its proprietary expression system to produce a vaccine candidate for
H5N1 avian influenza in highly immunogenic particles called Virus-Like Particles
According to the company, VLPs have significant advantages over
conventional vaccines as they are known to enhance immunity and therefore
increase protection against diseases.
These particles are similar to the virus from which they were derived from;
however they lack viral nucleic acid, which results in the best compromise
between safety (not infectious) and efficacy (highly immunogenic).
"Our transient expression system which produces recombinant vaccine
antigens in the cells of non-transgenic plants has demonstrated its efficiency
and medical potential by successfully producing the H5N1 Avian Influenza vaccine
candidate in VLPs," said Dr Louis Vezina, chief scientific officer of
Advantage over traditional egg-based and cell culture
"VLPs offer a promising avenue for the development of effective vaccines
for diseases such as the constantly evolving H5N1 Avian Influenza. Our unique
ability to rapidly deliver vaccines that can protect against the multiple
variations of viruses will, in our opinion, give our technology a critical
advantage over traditional egg-based and cell culture technologies. Using our
proprietary plant-based technology, we believe we now have the ability to
deliver a VLP vaccine for testing a month after the identification and reception
of genetic sequences from the pandemic strain," said Andy Sheldon, president and
chief executive officer of Medicago.
Medicago has initiated preclinical studies with its proprietary VLP against
H5N1 Avian Influenza virus and is now accumulating data. It is expected results
from this first study will be published in the coming weeks.
Related links:Medicago Inc.
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