Dr Daniel Ponndorf

Postdoctoral Scientist Molecules from Nature

Daniel uses transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana to analyse the suitability of plants to produce a VLP-based candidate vaccine against Dengue and Zika.

The Dengue and Zika virus can cause severe symptoms, including dengue haemorrhagic fever, dengue shock syndrome or congenital microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome.There is no licensed vaccine against Zika virus available and Dengvaxia® (CYD-TDV), the only licensed vaccine against Dengue, is controversial due to concerns regarding the safety of the vaccine in certain patients.

The use of virus-like particles (VLPs) as vaccines shows benefits regarding efficiency and safety compared to other vaccine systems, such as inactivated or attenuated viruses, DNA- and subunit vaccines.

VLPs can be produced in range of expression systems such as yeast, insect and mammalian cell or plants. Plants can have advantages regarding safety, cost efficiency and production yield compared to the other expression systems.