Scientists found a new vaccine approach for virus common in Food poisoning

May 06, 2023 | Microbiology Lab

For years, there has been little success in developing effective vaccines and drugs against norovirus given its exceptionally difficult to study due to the fact that it doesn’t infect mice or rats, or any other ordinary lab animals.

Rotavirus, on the other hand, had its first vaccines in 2006, significantly lowering half a million children that died every year due to diarrhea via rotavirus infection, to half–accounting for an estimated case of 200,000 annually at status quo.

Senior Author, Siyuang Ding, PhD, and her colleagues, developed the approach to use rotavirus to bypass the technical difficulties of working with norovirus. Following their test of the modified rotavirus on immunocompromised infant mice via oral administration in a nine-week initial immunization period, they yield a strong antibody response in the blood of nine out of 11 mice tested and in the intestines of all 11 mice.

"Traditionally, vaccine studies have focused on the antibody response in the blood, because we understand that part of the immune response the best," says Ding.

"But norovirus and rotavirus are gut viruses, so antibodies in the blood are less important than the ones in the intestines in terms of fighting off these viruses. The fact that we saw a strong antibody response in the intestines is a good sign."

The novel approach is now going through continuous development and its next target is to test the reliability of the approach to other animals Ding and her team aimed to show that those immunized with the experimental vaccine are less likely to get sick or die from norovirus.

The potential of the study is seen as a feat that could outline the acceleration of vaccine development for troublesome organisms causing diarrhea, particularly, in resource-limited countries where many such infections occur and cause fatalities on a daily.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2015 reported 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations, with 570 to 800 death per year, due to the highly contagious norovirus. Children and the Elderly are considered the vulnerable populations for the said virus, who commonly develop acute gastroenteritis from either food poisoning or stomach flu.

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