Two decades of plant-based candidate vaccines: a review of the chimeric protein approaches
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Genetic engineering revolutionized the concept of traditional vaccines since subunit vaccines became reality. Additionally, over the past two decades plant-derived antigens have been studied as potential vaccines with several advantages, including low cost and convenient administration. More specifically, genetic fusions allowed the expression of fusion proteins carrying two or more components with the aim to elicit immune responses against different targets, including antigens from distinct pathogens or strains. This review aims to provide an update in the field of the production of plant-based vaccine, focusing on those approaches based on the production of chimeric proteins comprising antigens from human pathogens, emphasizing the case of cholera toxin/E. coli enterotoxin fusions, chimeric viruses like particles approaches as well as the possible use of adjuvant-producing plants as expression hosts. Challenges for the near future in this field are also discussed.