06-19 – The Generation of Human Hepatoma Cells (Huh7) Bearing Self Replicating Norwalk Virus RNA

Norwalk virus continues to be a leading cause of gastrointestinal problems affecting the cruise ship industry and militaries around the world. Norwalk virus is a prototype of the noroviruses in the Caliciviridae family that is associated with acute gastroenteritis outbreaks. Recent studies showed that noroviruses are responsible for greater than 90% of non-bacterial gastroenteritis outbreaks and are associated with an estimated 23 million cases of gastroenteritis in the U.S. alone each year. These viruses are highly infectious with the potential to be deliberately disseminated in food or water supplies as an agent of bio-terrorism. Research at Kansas State University has produced a novel cell replicon that can be used to grow the virus in cell culture for vaccine production. The novelty of this invention pertains to the ability to produce the cell replicon in a human cell line. This invention describes a method for generation of cells expressing self-replicating norovirus RNA molecules (norovirus “replicons”) in a human cell line (Huh-7). It will facilitate the development of vaccines and therapeutic drugs for norovirus and perhaps other calicivirus diseases. Because noroviruses could not be grown in cell culture, research on vaccine and antiviral development has been severly hampered (if not impossible). Previously, there were no stable cell culture based systems to screen potential antiviral drugs against noroviruses and caliciviruses. Bret Ford bretford@ksu.edu 785-532-3924

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