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20 January 2011

Nanoparticle Vaccine Protects Against Stomach Flu

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A new vaccine strategy using nanoparticles as carriers may be the key to developing a vaccine against norovirus, one of the most common causes of foodborne disease in the United States

Researchers from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center report promising findings in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Virology.

The application of nanoparticles as carriers to present small peptide antigens is a growing field within vaccine development. Researchers led by Xi Jason Jiang of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, have described a new nanocarrier, called a P particle, which holds promise as a scaffold for a variety of vaccines. In the current study they inserted rotavirus antigen into the P particle, which boosted immune response to rotavirus, as well as norovirus, in mice.

Both rotavirus and norovirus are important causes of acute gastroenteritis. The former causes severe diarrhea in children, and kills an estimated 527,000 worldwide, annually. Norovirus is a notably highly transmissible, and particularly unpleasant flu, which can result in one to three days of vomiting and diarrhea in otherwise healthy adults, and which kills 200,000 children annually.


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