With the help of Dr. Mary Estes, a team at Baylor College of Medicine has successfully cultured human norovirus in intestinal cells.
Since norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness in the U.S., Baylor’s efforts will help scientists better understand how the virus infects cells, causes disease, and how the immune system responds to viral infection. From a food and environmental virology perspective, cultivation of the virus is an important step towards eventually being able to, for instance, evaluate the efficacy of disinfectants, sanitizers, and food processes on human norovirus infectivity.
The culture method is expected to lead to help lessen rates of foodborne disease, including fewer hospitalizations and deaths.
Baylor’s reproduction of human norovirus was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and funding from NoroCORE.