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Rochester

Volunteers Needed for Norovirus Vaccine Study

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Rochester: Volunteers Needed for Norovirus Vaccine Study
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Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center are looking for people to participate in a vaccine study designed to stop norovirus, the contagious virus that is the leading cause of gastrointestinal illness, or short term vomiting and stomach flu.

There currently is not a vaccine against the norovirus that makes nearly 20 million Americans sick every year.

Scientists in Rochester, along with five groups across the country, are testing an experimental vaccine. Scientists need paid volunteers to partake in the trial.

The Centers for Disease Control says norovirus can affect anyone. It can be gotten from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. It has been called the "cruise ship virus" because the virus runs through groups confined in close quarters; even day care centers, schools, nursing homes, prisons, and military barracks.

The virus causes diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain.

Since there is not a vaccine for it right now, the best way to protect against it is to wash your hands as thoroughly as possible.

Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center are doing a study and need 20 people to receive two shots, four weeks apart. Participants will then be exposed to norovirus to see if they are protected by the vaccine. Participants will have to be in isolation for five days, with follow up calls and visits for a year.

Dr. John Treanor is leading the test.

"In this study we actually have a vaccine that has looked pretty good in studies where we just looked at the immune response, and now we want to see if it will actually prevent GI illness due to the noroviruses. So this study is going to look at what we think might be a more effective form of the vaccine. And we're going to study it against a different variant of norovirus, the one that seems to be the responsible for most of the illness in the United States now," said Dr. John Treanor, URMC Chief of Infectious Diseases Division.

Payment for the completed study is $1,165. Those interested in being a part of the test vaccine study must be healthy and between the ages of 18 and 50 to be eligible.

People who are not eligible include healthcare workers, daycare or school employees, pregnant women, or people who have regular contact with pregnant women, children under five, or adults over 70.

Those interested are asked to call the Vaccine Research Unit at 585-273-3990 for more information.

Last year, other scientists tested a norovirus vaccine given as a squirt up the nose. It did protect people against norovirus, but not as much as scientists would like.

In the new study, the vaccine will be given via a shot in the arm.

Dr. Treanor says there would need to be additional natural environment testing so it would be another four or five years until it would be available.

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