The pandemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a public health emergency, and research on the development of various types of vaccines is rapidly progressing at an unprecedented development speed internationally. Some vaccines have already been approved for emergency use and are being supplied to people around the world, but there are still many ongoing efforts to create new vaccines. Virus-like particles (VLPs) enable the construction of promising platforms in the field of vaccine development. Here, we demonstrate that non-infectious SARS-CoV-2 VLPs can be successfully assembled by co-expressing three important viral proteins membrane (M), envelop (E) and nucleocapsid (N) in plants. Plant-derived VLPs were purified by sedimentation through a sucrose cushion. The shape and size of plant-derived VLPs are similar to native SARS-CoV-2 VLPs without spike. Although the assembled VLPs do not have S protein spikes, they could be developed as formulations that can improve the immunogenicity of vaccines including S antigens, and further could be used as platforms that can carry S antigens of concern for various mutations.
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