A close relative of a common little-understood human virus that causes an estimated 23 million episodes of intestinal illness, 50,000 hospitalizations and 300 deaths each year has been discovered in mice. The finding by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is reported in the March 7 issue of the journal Science.
Discovery of the new virus, known as murine norovirus 1 (MNV-1), may lead to a better understanding of its disease-causing cousins known as Norwalk viruses, or human noroviruses (HNVs). HNVs cause 90 percent of epidemic viral gastroenteritis worldwide, including those that sweep through cruise ships, nursing homes and military encampments causing debilitating diarrhea and vomiting.
"We know very little about human noroviruses because they cannot be grown in the laboratory or in animals," says study leader Herbert W. Virgin IV, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology and immunology and associate professor of molecular microbiology. "This new mouse virus will for the first time allow us to study this important class of human pathogens."
Gila Z. Reckess | EurekAlert!
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