Scientists close in on vaccine for stomach flu
TOKYO — As a new strain of stomach flu leaves a trail of stomach-clenching illness from Sydney to San Diego, scientists are moving closer to thwarting it for good.
Early-stage human studies on a vaccine against norovirus, the top source of gastroenteritis in the United States, are set to finish this year. A course of shots may confer lifelong protection against 95 percent of strains, said Rajeev Venkayya, who heads Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.'s vaccines unit.
A norovirus vaccine would be a boon to cruise ships, schools and nursing homes struggling to deal with a highly contagious, untreatable scourge. Of the 21 million people infected in the United States annually, about 800 die, mostly the very young and the elderly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Given the highly infectious nature of norovirus and its ability to cause extensive outbreaks in hospitals, elder-care facilities and cruise ships, there is a need for prophylactic and preventative approaches to guard against infection,” said Peter White, a microbiology professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Norovirus can be caught from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the CDC.
If approved, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.'s norovirus vaccine would be the first to protect people against the germ.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Chlorine gas attacks in Syria blamed on Assad
- Questions rife in deadly cartel, police shootout at Mexico ranch
- Ireland’s Catholic leaders stunned as voters deliver landslide approval of gay marriage legalization
- Salvadoran Archbishop Romero beatified
- Islamic State terrorists break into Palmyra museum, Syria says
- Officials claim world duty to Mideast at international forum
- Burundi opposition figure Feruzi shot dead in capital
- Islamic State’s takeover of Palmyra puts Syria’s ancient ruins in peril
- Another major earthquake shakes Nepal, killing at least 37
- Army commando team kills senior Islamic State official in Syria raid
- Contested Iraqi city of Ramadi falls to Islamic State group