Our project involves development of an edible orally-administered fruit-based vaccine, with oral-drop vaccines for infants, against human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV). hRSV causes infectious disease affecting all humans, especially infants and the elderly. No vaccine for RSV disease in humans is available in the market, and no fruit-based edible vaccine for any disease exists at present. A non-invasive edible fruit-based vaccine will have no toxicities, side-effects, or pain (oral), as potentially associated with injectable vaccines. Also, compared with injectable vaccines, edible plant-based vaccines are environmentally friendly, and minimize transportation costs (can be locally grown/sold) and hospital visits. The FruitVaccine technology will be applicable to additional infectious diseases, and other fruits. We transform cherry tomato plants with a gene construct encoding the immunogenic fusion (F, engineered to improve stability) protein of hRSV. The gene construct is transferred into the cherry tomato plant genome using microbial vector plasmids (Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated T-DNA binary vector). The cherry tomato fruits of the transgenic plants become the edible vaccine against hRSV.
The strong inclination of Dr. Dennis Buetow, Dr. Indu Rupassara and the Research Advisory Committee, to use natural food products as vaccines, and Dr. Kathleen Buetow’s knowledge of the dire need of a vaccine for the human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV), after being a pediatrician for over 50 years observing how hospitalized children suffer critical consequences of hRSV infection, gave life to FruitVaccine Incorporated as a Start-Up company at the University of Illinois Research Park in 2017, in Champaign, Illinois, USA, to develop a fruit-based vaccine for hRSV, as the first project. For infants, a vaccine composed of oral-drops is being developed.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) infection affects mainly the lower respiratory system (e.g., lungs), and can cause severe lung infections, including bronchiolitis (infection of small airways in the lungs) and pneumonia (an infection of the lungs), especially in the high-risk groups such as:
- Premature babies
- Children younger than 2 years old with chronic lung disease or certain heart problems
- Adults 65 years and older
- People with weakened immune systems, such as from HIV infection, organ transplants, or specific medical treatments like chemotherapy
Our goal is to develop a fruit-based edible (oral) vaccine against human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV), with an oral-drop-vaccine developed for infants.
Dennis E. Buetow, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer/Director/Vice-President:
S. Indu Rupassara, Ph.D.