Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health and their colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center have discovered an antibody that widely inhibits several pandemic norovirus strains , one of the main breakthroughs in the development of an effective vaccine for the feared stomach virus.
The study, published in the June 18 issue of Immunity, describes for the first time the structure of the binding interaction between the virus and a human antibody that can work against many pandemic "stomach virus" strains.
Researcher Lisa Lindesmith and professor Ralph Baric, both from the epidemiology department of The Gillings School, are co-authors of the study.
Human noroviruses are the main cause of acute gastroenteritis, inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It accounts for almost one in five cases of diarrhea and vomiting and is responsible for about 200,000 deaths a year, especially in infants, children and the elderly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although there are more than 30 known genotypes of human norovirus, about 60% of epidemics are caused by GII.4 genotype strains that have caused periodic human pandemics since 1996, the authors wrote.
To design an effective norovirus vaccine, scientists needed to identify a neutralizing antibody that could work against many strains of the virus, as well as strains that will circulate in the future. This information can now be used to build better human vaccines. "
Ralph Baric, professor, Department of Epidemiology of the Gillings School
The most important finding of this study is a human antibody that can bind to a highly conserved region of the common virus among different norovirus strains, potentially neutralizing all the naturally occurring strains of norovirus GII.4.
Highly conserved regions are parts of the virus that do not change. A human antibody that can affect these highly conserved areas will provide ample protection for an extended period of time. With this knowledge, vaccine developers will have a better understanding of how and how often to reformulate the vaccine over time.
The technology, developed by co-author George Georgiou, was used to discover the key antibody in the study and the approach is applicable to a variety of highly variable bacteria and viruses.
"This study addresses a fundamental problem in the development of norovirus disease that could have a wide-ranging impact on global health," says Lindesmith. "We established an understanding of the virus and how it changes, how the body's immune response targets it and how we can use that information to make a better vaccine."
Reference to the magazine:
Lindesmith, L C. et al. (2019) Analysis of the repertoire of evening antibodies Reveal mechanisms of large and pandemic neutralization reactions of the strains after human Norovirus. Immunity. doi.
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