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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 RSV, after being a pediatrician for over 50 years observing how hospitalized children suffer critical consequences of RSV infection, gave life to FruitVaccine Incorporated as a Start-Up company at the University of Illinois Research Park in January 2017, in Champaign, Illinois, USA, to develop a fruit-based vaccine for RSV, as the first project.

How the funds are being used:

Our project involves development of an edible orally-administered fruit-based vaccine for human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV causes infectious disease affecting all humans, especially infants and the elderly. Here we are developing an edible, orally administered vaccine in a fruit (eg. cherry tomatoes) against RSV-caused disease in humans. 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) protein of RSV. The gene construct is transferred into the cherry tomato plant genome using microbial vector plasmids (Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated T-DNA binary vector). Specific promoters are employed to selectively or constitutively express the transferred gene in the fruits of the transgenic plants.  We currently are conducting genetic engineering/modifications of the gene constructs to stabilize the viral protein, in the aim to maximize its expression levels in the plant, and to enhance its persistence in the plant, during storage after harvest, and after ingestion.

Other ways to support us:

Our project involves development of an edible orally-administered fruit-based vaccine for human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV causes infectious disease affecting all humans, especially infants and the elderly. Here we are developing an edible, orally administered vaccine in a fruit (eg. cherry tomatoes) against RSV-caused disease in humans. 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) protein of RSV. The gene construct is transferred into the cherry tomato plant genome using microbial vector plasmids (Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated T-DNA binary vector). Specific promoters are employed to selectively or constitutively express the transferred gene in the fruits of the transgenic plants.  We currently are conducting genetic engineering/modifications of the gene constructs to stabilize the viral protein, in the aim to maximize its expression levels in the plant, and to enhance its persistence in the plant, during storage after harvest, and after ingestion.