Norovirus & Rotavirus Vaccines for the World

4-6 June 2018, CHUV, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Introduction

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Rotaviruses (RV) and Noroviruses (NoV) are the most common causes of severe acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in children. It is generally accepted that RV causes severe AGE in a higher proportion of cases compared with NoV.

Globally, norovirus is associated with approximately one-fifth of all diarrhea cases, with similar prevalence in both children and adults, and is estimated to cause over 200,000 deaths annually in developing countries. Norovirus is an important pathogen in a number of high-priority domains: it is the most common cause of diarrheal episodes globally, the principal cause of foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States, a key health care-acquired infection, a common cause of travel-associated diarrhea, and a bane for deployed military troops. Partly as a result of this ubiquity and burden across a range of different populations, identifying target groups and strategies for intervention has been challenging. And, on top of the breadth of this public health problem, there remain important gaps in scientific knowledge regarding norovirus, especially with respect to disease in low-income settings. Many pathogens can cause acute gastroenteritis. Historically, rotavirus was the most common cause of severe disease in young children globally. Now, vaccines are available for rotavirus and are universally recommended by the World Health Organization. In countries with effective rotavirus vaccination programs, disease due to that pathogen has decreased markedly, but norovirus persists and is now the most common cause of pediatric gastroenteritis requiring medical attention. However, the data supporting the precise role of norovirus in low- and middle-income settings are sparse. With vaccines in the pipeline, addressing these and other important knowledge gaps is increasingly pressing.

The global health community is beginning to gain an understanding of the global burden of norovirus-associated disease, which appears to have significant burden in both developed- and developing-country populations. Of particular importance is the growing recognition of norovirus as a leading cause of gastroenteritis and diarrhea in countries where rotavirus vaccine has been introduced. While not as severe as rotavirus disease, the sheer number of norovirus infections not limited to early childhood makes norovirus a formidable global health problem. Multiple vaccine strategies, mostly relying on virus-like particle antigens, are under development and have demonstrated proof of efficacy in human challenge studies. Several are entering phase 2 clinical development. Norovirus vaccine development challenges include, but are not limited to: valency, induction of adequate immune responses in pediatric and elderly populations, and potential for vaccine-strain mismatch. Given current strategies and global health interest, the outlook for a norovirus vaccine is promising. Because a norovirus vaccine is expected to have a dual market in both developed and developing countries, there would likely be scale-up advantages for commercial development and global distribution. Combination with or expression by another enteric pathogen, such as rotavirus, could also enhance uptake of a norovirus vaccine.

NRVW 2018 will offer a new forum for researchers to focus on an update of progress with rotavirus vaccines and developments in the research and ultimate implementation of norovirus vaccines.

Abstracts for both oral and poster presentation are called for. Abstracts should be sent directly to the NRVW 2018 Secretariat (John Herriot at Meetings Management) via the participation section.

Scientific Advisory Panel

Duncan Steele (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA)
Timo Vesikari (University of Tampere, Finland)
Harry B. Greenberg (Stanford University, USA)
Sean Tucker (Vaxart Inc., South San Francisco, California, USA)
Umesh Parashar (CDC, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Bernd Benninghoff (GSK Biologicals, Wavre, Belgium)
Daniel Cohen (Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel)
Aron J. Hall (CDC, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
K. Zaman (ICDDR, Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Robert F. Bargatze (Consultant, Takeda Vaccines Inc., Bozeman, Montana, USA)
Hugues Bogaerts (Consultant, Takeda Vaccines, Belgium)

 

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