Norovirus (NoV) causes almost 90% of epidemic, non-bacterial outbreaks of gastroenteritis around the world, affecting millions and causing nearly $60 billion in economic costs. Extremely infectious, diverse and persistent, the virus causes acute diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, headache, fatigue, and fever. Though the illness is generally resolved within 48 hours, mortalities do occur in the young, elderly, and immune-compromised. The CDC estimates that up to 200,000 people die of NoV infection each year worldwide. There is no vaccine against NoV and no specific antiviral drugs to treat infections. Given the genetic diversity of norovirus strains, vaccine development efforts have been not been successful. Thus, there are no existing approved NoV vaccines.
Researchers at the Biodesign Institute of Arizona State University have developed a novel program for in silico prediction of vaccination epitopes for NoV. The epitopes which can be identified are conserved across two or more of the NoV strains and/or genotypes and are likely to produce broadly protective vaccine candidates. NoV T-cell as well as B-cell immune epitopes are focused on so as to produce potentially broadly protective vaccine candidates. Additionally, some epitopes have already been identified which may be excellent vaccine candidates.
This program could prove to be highly useful in developing epitope-focused NoV vaccine candidates that can provide broad, pan-strain protection.
Benefits and Advantages
Epitope conservancy must be over 80%
Additional vaccine targets were also identified
Data on best predicted targets via sequence screening
The epitopes comprise NoV T-cell or B-cell immune epitopes
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