Just-smash clinical trials derived from first-ever flu vaccine tobacco plants

The new flu vaccine grown in plants has been put to the test in two large-scale clinical trials, the first for vaccine research.

The vaccine contained virus-like particles resembling strains of the spreading flu, derived from relatives of native Australian tobacco who were genetically instructed to produce viral proteins.

Approximately 23,000 people were involved in both of these tests and the results indicate that the plant-derived vaccine is not only safe, but comparable to the current commercial flu vaccine.

“To the best of our knowledge, this study and clinical development program is by far the largest demonstration of the potential date of producing a human vaccine for a plant-based platform that can be safe, immunogenic and effective.” The research team wrote.

Every year, the vaccines that protect us against influenza will have to improve over the next flu season, which is a huge undertaking.

The influenza virus is a chameleon that constantly replaces the protein molecules that appear on its outer surface, and these researchers are looking for ways to improve our current vaccine technology with fever.

Most influenza vaccines are currently made using virus particles grown and cut from chicken eggs or lab-grown cells, even after scientists have worked out which flu strains (and surface proteins) need to be targeted.

Plants, which can be engineered to make selective proteins and cultivated on a scale, can be optional, helping to increase our ability to produce seasonal flu vaccines.

This technique can also help eliminate some of the pitfalls in the way the current flu vaccine is made which sometimes makes vaccines less effective.

In this system, the researchers used an Australian Australian relative of the tobacco plant, Bantamiana of Nicotiana, Engineering to produce only the outer shell of the influenza virus. Particles such as this virus are then purified under strict conditions to make a flu vaccine.

Funded by a Canadian biotech company that developed the technology, and reported no major safety concerns, the researchers tested the plant-derived vaccine in their clinical trials.

Testing the safety and effectiveness of Phase III is usually one of the last barrier vaccines that needs to be cleaned before it can be approved for widespread use.

But keep in mind that even if the flu vaccine is approved as safe and effective, any manufacturer needs to be able to produce millions of doses each year, which can be a challenge for vaccine-producing plants.

The first trial involved more than 10,100 adults in Asia, Europe and North America, ranging in age from 18 to 64, and was designed to show that the vaccine could prevent 70 percent of people in the trial from developing flu-like or other respiratory illnesses. A flu season.

Although this high benchmark did not reach trial, the vaccine protected about a third of people from the spread of winter flu strains in the 2017-2018 Northern Hemisphere, a match for viral particles in the vaccine.

That result may seem small, but the effectiveness of the commercial flu vaccine often varies from year to year depending on how the various flu strains are vaccinated during the winter.

Based on data collected by researchers during 2017-2018, the researchers concluded that vaccines grown from their plants provided a “widely uniform” level of protection, especially when commercial vaccines are used during the long flu season, which is a good result.

The second study recruited another 12,700 people aged 65 and over. This is important because older people’s immune systems tend to weaken with age, making them more susceptible to infections.

“Like other influenza vaccines, antibody responses [plant-derived] “The vaccine is also declining with age,” the researchers said.

Antibody response in the elderly is a less stimulated plant-grown vaccine, something to be expected, but it activates a significant increase in immune cells ready to respond to flu-like infections.

Hopefully, the safety the vaccine provided to people from flu-like illnesses in the 2018-2019 flu season was still similar to the commercially available flu vaccine used in that season.

“The field of plant-derived vaccines has grown a lot in the last 28 years, as it was first shown. [in 1992] “Viral proteins can be expressed in plants,” said John Tragning, an infectious disease researcher at Imperial College London. A commentary About the latest trial results.

“This is the first time the plant’s vaccine has been tested [human] Clinical trials, “added Tragging.” It is a landmark for this technique and sows seeds for plant-based vaccines and therapies. “

If all goes well, this research will one day give us another way to create a seasonal flu vaccine that can also be tied to other flu epidemics.

In their paper, the researchers claim that their plant-based system can produce the first dose of a newly designed flu vaccine within two months of identifying influenza strains.

But there is still a long way to go to navigate regulatory approvals for this vaccine, so look at this space.

The research was published in Lancet.