Oral Norovirus Vaccine Candidate Passes Challenge Study
While most people have heard of norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships, this diarrhea-causing virus also impacts people on land.
The U.S. CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on September 8, 2023, highlighted about 27 cases of acute gastroenteritis among hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2022, suggesting a possible norovirus outbreak.
The CDC wrote preventing future outbreaks will require fostering increased awareness of handwashing and the lack of effectiveness of alcohol-based hand sanitizers against norovirus and more frequent cleaning of public facilities.
These hikers and others are eagerly awaiting news of a norovirus vaccine.
Vaccination with VXA-G1.1-NN led to a statistically significant reduction in infection rate, a non-statistically significant reduction in norovirus acute gastroenteritis, and a substantial reduction in viral shedding.
The oral vaccine candidate was also safe and well tolerated with no vaccine-related serious adverse events.
Dr. James F. Cummings, Vaxart's Chief Medical Officer, commented in a press release, "The magnitude of the reduction in shedding could have an impact on transmission and may have important public health benefits, as norovirus spreads rapidly among people gathering in large numbers, including settings such as daycare centers, nursing homes, and workplaces, and may reduce the potential spread of the infection to families at home."
"The results of this study highlight the potentially distinctive profile of mucosal vaccination and the potential that our oral pill vaccines may have in protecting against infection and blocking transmission – potential benefits that have also been seen with our influenza vaccine," added Dr. Cummings.
Norovirus is the leading cause of acute viral gastroenteritis in all age groups in the U.S. On average, norovirus causes 19 to 21 million cases, infects 15% of all children under age 5, and leads to 465,000 emergency department visits, 109,000 hospitalizations, and 900 deaths, says the U.S. CDC.
As of September 9, 2023, norovirus vaccine candidate news is posted by Precision Vaccinations.