Disovery can detect and destroy noroviruses

New tool detects and destroys norovirus
New tool detects and destroys norovirus | Courtesy of
Noroviruses are highly contagious and very unpleasant: though the illnesses are not typically fatal, patients suffer from symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.

Currently, there are few treatments available to patients, and most of those treatments focus only on rehydration. Creating treatments is difficult because there are such a variety of norovirus strains that are constantly evolving.

The CHS Research Group on Noroviruses at the German Cancer Research Center recently found that Nano-85, a nanobody similar to an antibody, binds to norovirus-like particles (VLPs) in laboratory cultures. Nanobodies attack and bind to antigens, producing an immune system response. Nano-85 recognized and bound to a variety of mutated norovirus strains from the library of VLPs.

In the next step, scientists placed Nano-85 on stool samples that were taken from patients infected with a norovirus. Nano-85 detected one-third of the known noroviruses in the samples.

"Because noroviruses are changing all the time, there is a need for more powerful tools to detect emerging noroviruses,” said Dr. Grant Hansman, a virologist who leads the CHS Research Group on Noroviruses at the German Cancer Research Center and Heidelberg University. “We still need to optimize detection using Nano-85, but we hope that it could potentially be used as a diagnostic tool further on down the road.”

Researchers are continuing to explore their options with these new finds.

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German Cancer Research Center

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