Norovirus Replication and Epidemiology

Norovirus is the major cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks worldwide and is responsible for around 219,000 deaths each year. Major pandemics of norovirus gastroenteritis occur around every three years, with six pandemics since 1996. These pandemics are associated with novel noroviruses from a single genotype (GII.4), which escape herd immunity through both antigenic drift and shift. Our group is part of international and national networks that trace and track pandemic noroviruses globally.

We first identified and characterised two of the six pandemic viruses; Hunter 2004 and Sydney 2012, both were responsible for global epidemics of gastroenteritis. We have developed a number of norovirus molecular detection and bioinformatics tools over the last few years for molecular epidemiological studies. The aim of this project is to conduct a detailed molecular epidemiological and evolutionary analysis of Australian noroviruses. The project will determine if current outbreaks are associated with the emergence of novel virus variants or recombinant (hybrid) viruses.

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