Biomimetic bacterial and viral-based nanovesicles for drug delivery, theranostics, and vaccine applications

Drug Discov Today. 2021 Apr;26(4):902-915. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2020.12.017. Epub 2020 Dec 28.


Smart nanocarriers obtained from bacteria and viruses offer excellent biomimetic properties which has led to significant research into the creation of advanced biomimetic materials. Their versatile biomimicry has application as biosensors, biomedical scaffolds, immobilization, diagnostics, and targeted or personalized treatments. The inherent natural traits of biomimetic and bioinspired bacteria- and virus-derived nanovesicles show potential for their use in clinical vaccines and novel therapeutic drug delivery systems. The past few decades have seen significant progress in the bioengineering of bacteria and viruses to manipulate and enhance their therapeutic benefits. From a pharmaceutical perspective, biomimetics enable the safe integration of naturally occurring bacteria and virus particles to achieve high, stable rates of cellular transfection/infection and prolonged circulation times. In addition, biomimetic technologies can overcome safety concerns associated with live-attenuated and inactivated whole bacteria or viruses. In this review, we provide an update on the utilization of bacterial and viral particles as drug delivery systems, theranostic carriers, and vaccine/immunomodulation modalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Bioengineering / trends*
  • Biomimetic Materials / pharmacology*
  • Biomimetics
  • Drug Carriers / pharmacology*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / trends
  • Drug Discovery / trends*
  • Humans
  • Nanostructures / therapeutic use*
  • Vaccines / pharmacology
  • Virus Physiological Phenomena


  • Drug Carriers
  • Vaccines