Another great JAMS evening at the Australian Museum. Nicolas Barraud from UNSW kicked off with a biotechnology story about the use of nitric oxide in biofilm control. John-Sebastien Eden from Eddie Holmes group at USyd gave us the low down on norovirus evolution using the Sydney 2012 strain (the chunder from downunder) as a case study. Somehow our two 15 min presentations consumed an hour so starting back late after the break JAMS co-founder Prof Andrew Holmes gave an excellent presentation on what shapes microbial communities in the the gut. Despite the late start Andy had the audience glued to their seats with a showcase of technology used to unravel human-gut microbiome interactions.
Norovirus Sydney 2012: The chunder from down under
Norovirus is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis globally with the primary symptoms of infection including vomiting and diarrhea. Typical of most single stranded RNA viruses, norovirus demonstrates a broad genetic diversity and can infect a wide range of mammalian hosts; however, the majority of human infections are caused by variants of a single genetic lineage – GII.4. The molecular epidemiology of the norovirus GII.4 lineage has been characterised by a continual turnover of novel variants that often precede large global epidemics. The emergence and evolution of these novel GII.4 variants has been attributed to rapid evolution and antigenic variation in response to herd immunity as well as frequent recombination between circulating strains. In this presentation, I will reflect on the recent molecular epidemiology of norovirus infections in Australia and globally, and then discuss the significant impact and origins of a recently emerged GII.4 virus, known as Sydney 2012, that has grabbed headlines across the globe (for the wrong reasons).