The University of Melbourne and Griffith University’s Institute for Glycomics have performed new research into rotavirus, a virus which causes severe diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration. It is estimated to come in contact with about 95% of children under five and kills about 500,000 children every year.
The findings focus on how the virus enters the body. The research suggests that the virus attacks sugar receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. This new information could prove vital in finding new methods of treatment and prevention, potentially enabling drugs to be developed to inhibit the virus specifically in those areas.
There already exists a vaccine to lessen the severity of symptoms, but Dr Thomas Haselhorst, who is working on the project, emphasised the importance of creating new treatments because the viruses can and do change.
The study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council.
Thank you, Uni Melb and Griffith Uni for keeping Australia clever and continuing to produce world-class research.
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