Transgenic plants for animal health: plant-made vaccine antigens for animal infectious disease control

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A variety of plant species have been genetically modified to accumulate vaccine antigens for human and animal health and the first vaccine candidates are approaching the market. The regulatory burden for animal vaccines is less than that for human use and this has attracted the attention of researchers and companies, and investment in plant-made vaccines for animal infectious disease control is increasing. The dosage cost of vaccines for animal infectious diseases must be kept to a minimum, especially for non-lethal diseases that diminish animal welfare and growth, so efficient and economic production, storage and delivery are critical for commercialization. It has become clear that transgenic plants are an economic and efficient alternative to fermentation for large-scale production of vaccine antigens. The oral delivery of plant-made vaccines is particularly attractive since the expensive purification step can be avoided further reducing the cost per dose. This review covers the current status of plant-produced vaccines for the prevention of disease in animals and focuses on barriers to the development of such products and methods to overcome them.

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