, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 833-844

Production of Two Vaccinating Recombinant Rotavirus Proteins in the Milk of Transgenic Rabbits

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Rotaviruses are the main cause of infantile viral gastroenteritis worldwide leading to approximately 500,000 deaths each year mostly in the developing world. For unknown reasons, live attenuated viruses used in classical vaccine strategies were shown to be responsible for intussusception (a bowel obstruction). New strategies allowing production of safe recombinant non-replicating rotavirus candidate vaccine are thus clearly needed. In this study we utilized transgenic rabbit milk as a source of rotavirus antigens. Individual transgenic rabbit lines were able to produce several hundreds of micrograms per ml of secreted recombinant VP2 and VP6 proteins in their milk. Viral proteins expressed in our model were immunogenic and were shown to induce a significant reduction in viral antigen shedding after challenge with virulent rotavirus in the adult mouse model. To our knowledge, this is the first report of transgenic mammal bioreactors allowing the rapid co-production of two recombinant viral proteins in milk to be used as a vaccine.