Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

The Emergency Response Capacity of Plant-Based Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing-What It Is and What It Could Be


Several epidemic and pandemic diseases have emerged over the last 20 years with increasing reach and severity. The current COVID-19 pandemic has affected most of the world's population, causing millions of infections, hundreds of thousands of deaths, and economic disruption on a vast scale. The increasing number of casualties underlines an urgent need for the rapid delivery of therapeutics, prophylactics such as vaccines, and diagnostic reagents. Here, we review the potential of molecular farming in plants from a manufacturing perspective, focusing on the speed, capacity, safety, and potential costs of transient expression systems. We highlight current limitations in terms of the regulatory framework, as well as future opportunities to establish plant molecular farming as a global, de-centralized emergency response platform for the rapid production of biopharmaceuticals. The implications of public health emergencies on process design and costs, regulatory approval, and production speed and scale compared to conventional manufacturing platforms based on mammalian cell culture are discussed as a forward-looking strategy for future pandemic responses.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View