Ongoing vaccine development efforts focus on the spike proteins of various viruses. These spike proteins are extensively glycosylated which often shield immunogenic epitopes from the host immune system. In this project we will build a consortium for a plant based vaccine platform with engineered glycans that result in better vaccines.
Several groups of Wageningen University and research have joined forces and raised the project idea to develop a vaccine production platform utilizing Nicotiana benthamiana plants. The unique aspect of this idea is that these plants will carry engineered glycans that result in better vaccines. The project will build a consortium, further develop the proposition and generate materials (presentation and animation) and information to expand this initiative. Wageningen University & Research has unique expertise in glyco-engineering as well as crucial capabilities in virology, immunology, and vaccine testing in animal models. Also, glyco-peptide analytics expertise, which will be crucial for this strategy of vaccine development, will be implemented. SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing Covid-19) will be utilized as proof of concept, while generating a generic platform.