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Results from a recent “challenge” trial led by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s
reveal that an investigational norovirus vaccine appears well tolerated and
effective against the most common strain of the virus.
The study involved 98 people who drank water dosed with
norovirus, 50 of whom received the injected vaccine while 48 received placebo
injections, The researchers, led by David Bernstein, MD, MA, presented their
findings during IDWeek 2013™, a major infectious disease conference held in
Among those who received the vaccine, 26 people were
infected, the researchers said. In the other group, 29 people were infected.
However, only 10 people who were vaccinated went on to develop mild, moderate
or severe vomiting and/or diarrhea, compared with 20 people in the placebo
group. This means the vaccine achieved a 52 percent efficacy in preventing
disease. It was even more effective in
preventing severe disease.
Norovirus is a highly contagious cause of gastrointestinal
illness, known for triggering outbreaks in cruise ships, military barracks, childcare
centers and other places where people spend time in close quarters. Elderly
people in long-term care facilities are especially vulnerable to norovirus.
The challenge trial involved volunteers who agreed to spend
five days in a controlled, hospital-like setting. The next step will be to test
the vaccine in a larger clinical trial under real-world conditions.
“Norovirus is very common. Worldwide, it causes about
200,000 deaths a year,” Bernstein says. “Ideally, we would like a vaccine to do
a little better than 50 percent symptom reduction, but a vaccine that reduces
severe symptoms could save many lives and help keep many more people out of the
hospital, which could significantly reduce costs.”
Article by Tim Bonfield, Cincinnati
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