A pinboard by
Sandiswa Mbewana

Post-Doctoral Fellowhip, University of Cape Town/ Biopharming Research Unit


Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a haemorrhagic fever agent caused by RNA Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV). The virus is spread by infected mosquitoes and affects ruminants and humans, causing high numbers of newborn fatalities in animals and occasional fatalities in humans, posing serious health and agricultural problems. The disease can be prevented by vaccination, but there is currently no Food and Drug Administration approved RVFV vaccine that can be used outside endemic areas, while there are two live attenuated vaccines available for use in prevalent areas. These vaccines have a potential for reversion, therefore they are not recommended for use in countries where RVFV is not prevalent. This indicates the need for more RVFV vaccine research and development.
The research is focused on the development of a RVFV vaccine candidate using the South African isolate M35/74. Gene was modified for recombinant protein expression in plants, that would allow for differentiation between infected and vaccinated animals as well as humans and would not revert to pathogenicity. The research is aligned with the primary objective of the bioeconomy strategy with regards to strengthening agricultural biosciences innovation to provide food security, enhance nutrition and improve health