Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has killed more than 37,000 people in Italy and has caused widespread socioeconomic disruption. Urgent measures are needed to contain and control the virus, particularly diagnostic kits for detection and surveillance, therapeutics to reduce mortality among the severely affected, and vaccines to protect the remaining population. Here we discuss the potential role of plant molecular farming in the rapid and scalable supply of protein antigens as reagents and vaccine candidates, antibodies for virus detection and passive immunotherapy, other therapeutic proteins, and virus-like particles as novel vaccine platforms. We calculate the amount of infrastructure and production capacity needed to deal with predictable subsequent waves of COVID-19 in Italy by pooling expertise in plant molecular farming, epidemiology and the Italian health system. We calculate the investment required in molecular farming infrastructure that would enable us to capitalize on this technology, and provide a roadmap for the development of diagnostic reagents and biopharmaceuticals using molecular farming in plants to complement production methods based on the cultivation of microbes and mammalian cells.

Plant Molecular Farming as a Strategy Against COVID-19 – The Italian Perspective

Lico C.;Baschieri S.;Marusic C.;Donini M.;Franconi R.;
2020

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has killed more than 37,000 people in Italy and has caused widespread socioeconomic disruption. Urgent measures are needed to contain and control the virus, particularly diagnostic kits for detection and surveillance, therapeutics to reduce mortality among the severely affected, and vaccines to protect the remaining population. Here we discuss the potential role of plant molecular farming in the rapid and scalable supply of protein antigens as reagents and vaccine candidates, antibodies for virus detection and passive immunotherapy, other therapeutic proteins, and virus-like particles as novel vaccine platforms. We calculate the amount of infrastructure and production capacity needed to deal with predictable subsequent waves of COVID-19 in Italy by pooling expertise in plant molecular farming, epidemiology and the Italian health system. We calculate the investment required in molecular farming infrastructure that would enable us to capitalize on this technology, and provide a roadmap for the development of diagnostic reagents and biopharmaceuticals using molecular farming in plants to complement production methods based on the cultivation of microbes and mammalian cells.
antibodies
COVID-19
diagnostics
molecular farming
recombinant proteins
therapeutics
transient expression
vaccines
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12079/55963
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