Image caption: Dr Thomas Haselhorst and Professor Mark von Itzstein from the Institute for Glycomics.
Original Published Date: 
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Researchers from Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics and The University of Melbourne have significantly advanced understanding of a virus that kills up to half a million children each year. Rotaviruses are considered the most important cause of severe diarrhoea in children, with all being infected by the time they reach the age of five. They have revealed how the virus attacks cells through carbohydrate receptors present on a child’s intestinal cells. Professor Mark von Itzstein, Director of the Institute for Glycomics, says the study will assist the understanding of how this virus starts to infect cells and provides new direction in potential drug discovery. “Our findings greatly advance our understanding of the sugar receptors used by human rotaviruses and provide clues as to how we might target this virus to stop it infecting cells,” he said. ARC Future Fellow, Dr Thomas Haselhorst, also says the findings offer potential for new vaccine development strategies. “We are very excited by our findings, as we now have a much better understanding of the carbohydrates important for the virus to latch on to for successful infection.” The study was funded by The National Health and Medical Research Council and the ARC.

Media issued by Griffith University

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Image credit: Griffith University