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New Vaccine Candidate Shows Strong Potential To Prevent Highly Contagious Norovirus

Posted Mar 16 2011 6:06pm

Scientists have shown that an experimental vaccine against the human norovirus – the bug behind about 90 percent of highly contagious nonbacterial illnesses that cause diarrhea and vomiting – can generate a strong immune response in mice without appearing to cause the animals any harm.

Using a novel viral vector-based method to grow and deliver the vaccine that has shown promise in other agents designed to fight such infections as HIV and hepatitis C, the researchers are the first to test this vaccine design method’s effectiveness against the human norovirus.

Animals receiving the vaccine developed high levels of antibodies, a robust white blood cell response and an additional immune response in the area of the body most affected by this particular infection – the gastrointestinal system.

The researchers say this study supports the use of viral vector-based techniques as a new way to develop vaccines for human norovirus and other viruses that cannot grow in cell cultures. It also suggests that these Ohio State University scientists could be well on their way to developing a safe vaccine against a highly problematic pathogen that causes millions of gastrointestinal illnesses every year in the United States.

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