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Scientists discover antibody that blocks norovirus



Excellent news has come regarding norovirus, also referred to as the stomach virus, which is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis. It is a virus that causes an infection which in turn leads to symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting.

At the moment there is no specific treatment but there are only supportive therapies, in particular those based on rehydration. The norovirus is the cause of 685 million infections per year globally, leading to around 200,000 deaths each year. It is common in both developing and developed countries.

Now a new study, published in Immunity and conducted by a group of researchers from the University of North Carolina along with other researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and the US National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center, shows that the interaction between this virus and a particular human antibody can be a strong contrast weapon against many norovirus strains.

Researchers Lisa Lindesmith and Ralph Baric have indeed discovered that this antibody inhibits several norovirus strains by binding to a particular region of the virus that is not subject to change and can therefore be more efficiently attacked. In particular, a human antibody, A1431, blocks the norovirus GII.4 strains, a norovirus genotype that is considered among the major causes of epidemics with regard to humans.

The discovery could have an important impact as regards the possible development of a vaccine or in any case therapies designed to neutralize this human pathogen.

Sean Cox

I am a Physics professor at Florida A&M University and an amateur astronomer with a keen interest in not just my own areas of specialization, but also biology, robotics and computer science (I am also an amateur C++ programmer and Python developer). While my current responsibilities do not allow me to spend a whole lot of time writing about science research, I thoroughly enjoy doing so when I get the chance, and started Bitobit News to engage in that hobby and also to try to get at least a few other people interested in the wonderful world of science.

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