Dr Sandiswa Mbewana


ResearchPublications | Lab members


My research focuses on the production of valuable pharmaceuticals in plants, particularly vaccine candidates and diagnostic reagents.  My work has been on Influenza virus, rift valley fever, and bluetongue orbiviruses.  Other projects I have been involved in include the production of diagnostic reagents for Shuni virus.

My current focus is on the development of universal vaccine candidates against respiratory diseases. The aim is to develop chimaeric virus-like particles displaying immunogenic antigens of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A viruses to induce broad cross-protection against emerging and re-emerging respiratory viruses.  


Gwynn A, Mbewana S, Lubisi A, Tshabalala H, Rybicki E, Meyers A (2023). Chimaeric plant-produced bluetongue virus particles as potential vaccine candidates. Archives Virology 168, Article number: 179

Stander J, Mbewana S, Meyers AE (2022). Plant-derived human vaccines: recent developments. BioDrugs, volume 36, pages 573–589. 

Sandiswa Mbewana, Ann E Meyers, Brandon Weber, Vuyokazi Mareledwane, Maryke L Ferreira, Phelix A O Majiwa, Edward P Rybicki (2019). Expression of Rift Valley fever virus N-protein in Nicotiana benthamiana for use as a diagnostic antigen. BMC Biotechnology 

Mbewana Sandiswa, Meyers Ann, Rybicki Edward (2018). Chimaeric Rift Valley fever virus-like particle candidate vaccine in Nicotiana benthamiana.  Biotechnology Journal: DOI: 10.1002/biot.201800238

S Mbewana, E Mortimer, II Hitzeroth, EP Rybicki (2015). Production of H5N1 influenza virus matrix protein 2 ectodomain protein bodies in tobacco plants and in insect cells as a candidate universal influenza vaccine. Front. Bioeng. Biotechnol. 3:197. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2015.00197 

Pera FF, Mutepfa DLR, Khan AM, Els JH, Mbewana S, van Dijk AAA, Rybicki EP, Hitzeroth II (2015). Engineering and expression of a human rotavirus candidate vaccine in Nicotiana benthamiana. Virology J: DOI 10.1186/s12985-015-0436-8

Mortimer E, Hitzeroth II, Buys A, Mbewana S, Rybicki EP (2013). An H5N1 Influenza DNA Vaccine for Africa. South African Journal of Science 109 

E. Mortimer, Maclean J, Mbewana S, Buys A, Hitzeroth II, Rybicki EP (2012). Setting up a platform for influenza vaccine production in South Africa: Plant-produced vaccines against Avian Influenza H5N1. BMC Biotechnology http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6750/12/14 

Lab members

Goodman Mulondo – PhD 
Andani Tshiitamune – MSc
Kirti Daya – MSc
Rihangwele Muluvhu – MSc
TuoTuo Li- Hons

Research staff in the Biopharming Research Unit
Responsibilities: Administration, planning and research on vaccine and reagents development for Influenza virus A and B, SARS-CoV-2, African horse sickness virus (AHSV) and Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV). 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sandiswa-mbewana-9aa25b7/