Edible Vaccines: Promises and Challenges

Mol Biotechnol. 2020 Feb;62(2):79-90. doi: 10.1007/s12033-019-00222-1.


Vaccines are biological preparations that improve immunity to particular diseases and form an important innovation of 19th century research. It contains a protein that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weak or killed forms of the microbe. Vaccines are agents that stimulate the body's immune system to recognize the antigen. Now, a new form of vaccine was introduced which will have the power to mask the risk side of conventional vaccines. This type of vaccine was produced from plants which are genetically modified. In the production of edible vaccines, the gene-encoding bacterial or viral disease-causing agent can be incorporated in plants without losing its immunogenic property. The main mechanism of action of edible vaccines is to activate the systemic and mucosal immunity responses against a foreign disease-causing organism. Edible vaccines can be produced by incorporating transgene in to the selected plant cell. At present edible vaccine are developed for veterinary and human use. But the main challenge faced by edible vaccine is its acceptance by the population so that it is necessary to make aware the society about its use and benefits. When compared to other traditional vaccines, edible vaccines are cost effective, efficient and safe. It promises a better prevention option from diseases.

Keywords: Biopharmaceuticals; Edible vaccine; Genetically modified plants; Molecular farming; Mucosal immunity; Oral immunization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Agrobacterium / genetics
  • Agrobacterium / immunology
  • Animals
  • Biolistics / methods
  • Biological Products / immunology*
  • Chlorophyta / genetics
  • Chlorophyta / immunology
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal / drug effects*
  • Insecta / genetics
  • Insecta / immunology
  • Lactobacillales / genetics
  • Lactobacillales / immunology
  • Molecular Farming
  • Organisms, Genetically Modified / immunology*
  • Plant Viruses / genetics
  • Plant Viruses / immunology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Edible / immunology*
  • Yeasts / genetics
  • Yeasts / immunology


  • Biological Products
  • Vaccines, Edible