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, ZeraR-VP2ep and ZeraR-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 ZeraR-VP2ep and ZeraR-VP2
can be potential BTV vaccines.