Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.8, 3131-3143, 2021
Lyophilized yeast powder for adjuvant free thermostable vaccine delivery
Thermolabile nature of commercially available vaccines necessitates their storage, transportation, and dissemination under refrigerated condition. Maintenance of continuous cold chain at every step increases the final cost of vaccines. Any breach in the cold chain even for a short duration results in the need to discard the vaccines. As a result, there is a pressing need for the development of thermostable vaccines. In this proof-of-concept study, we showed that E. coli curli-green fluorescent fusion protein remains stable in freeze-dried yeast powder for more than 18 and 12 months when stored at 30 degrees C and 37 degrees C respectively. Stability of the heterologous protein remains unaffected during the process of heat-inactivation and lyophilization. The mass of lyophilized yeast powder remains almost unchanged during the entire period of storage and expressed protein remains intact even after two cycles of freeze and thaws. The protease-deficient strain appears ideal for the development of whole recombinant yeast-based vaccines. The cellular abundance of expressed antigen in dry powder after a year was comparable to freshly lyophilized cells. Scanning electron microscopy showed the intact nature of cells in powdered form even after a year of storage at 30 degrees C. Observation made in this study showed that freeze-dry yeast powder can play a vital role in the development of thermostable vaccines.