Worldwide, noroviruses cause one in five cases of viral gastroenteritis and an estimated annual 300 million cases of norovirus infection contribute to roughly 260,000 deaths, mostly in low-income countries. However, a new weapon in the battle against noroviruses may be on the horizon, according to a study from researchers at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in collaboration with Takeda Inc., a vaccine manufacturer.


The study, “Broad Blockade Antibody Responses in Human Volunteers Post-Immunization with a Multivalent Norovirus VLP Candidate Vaccine: Immunological Analyses from a Phase I Clinical Trial,” published online March 24 by PLOS Medicine, found that a multivalent candidate vaccine (a vaccine containing a mix of more than one norovirus strain) elicits broad antibody responses to a range of different norovirus strains, including strains not part of the vaccine or previously encountered by participants. These results indicate that a vaccine to norovirus may be available in the future.

The study was led by Lisa Lindesmith, MS, research specialist, and Ralph Baric, PhD, professor, both in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. Kari Debbink, PhD, and Jesica Swanstrom, BS, research specialist, both in epidemiology, and Martin Ferris, PhD, research assistant professor of genetics in the UNC School of Medicine, were among co-authors of the study.

“This study represents the best example of leveraging academic and industrial partnerships to achieve major breakthroughs in important global health problems effecting young children and the elderly,” Baric said.

Read the entire UNC news release HERE