27 Apr 2016

The Global Burden of Norovirus & Prospects for Vaccine Development

As Part of our World Immunisation Week Series, you can watch a web chat between the Institute of Infection and Global Health's very own Prof. Miren Iturriza-Gomara and representatives from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The discussion is hosted by the Public Library of Science (PLOS) and is based upon a collection of work released this week about the Burden of Norovirus.

Norovirus is a virus that causes Gastroenteritis (diarrhea and vomiting), it is very common and for the majority of people it will only affect them for around 48hours. However, for those that are more vulnerable, for example, young children and the elderly, it can become more severe. The PLOS Burden of Norovirus Collection looks at three main areas;
  • Challenges of measuring the burden of noroviruses - finding out the scale of the problem. Not everyone who has Norovirus necessarily demostrates symptoms.
  • Biological challenges in vaccine development - Identifying a way to create an effective vaccine which works in the correct way (especially in the gut) and is effective in vulnerable and non-vulnerable people
  • Challenges in Implementation - considering the cost and availability of the vaccine from the manufacturer.

Prof. Miren Iturriza-Gomara is a professor in Clinical Infection Microbiology and Immunology. She works in the Gastrointestinal Infections Group and is a a virologist with a particular interest in enteric virus infections, virus evolution and the use of molecular tools for diagnosing, monitoring and tracking infections

25 Apr 2016

World Immunisation Week

This week is World Immunisation Week (24th -30th April 2016) it is organised by the World Health Organisation to promote the importance of vaccines for immunisation at all stages of life. This is a cause that's very important to us at the Institute of Infection and Global Health.

We've asked Dr Naor Bar-Zeev to give us a run down of why vaccines are so important and the Liverpool Malawi Vaccine Initiative.

Vaccines have been the greatest of all medical interventions. They have literally changed the world. Eradicating diseases and relegating previously common condition to what are today considered rare events.Vaccines have been instrumental to reducing child mortality globally. In developing countries where infectious diseases are still the primary cause of child and adult mortality, vaccines are really vital. 

Thankfully the University of Liverpool has been right at the forefront of vaccine development and evaluation for over 2 decades. In Malawi researchers from the Institute of Infection and Global Health (IGH) continuously track infectious diseases and together with the Malawi Ministry of Health ensure the best vaccines are trialled and introduced. 

IGH research has evaluated measles, rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines and trials are soon concluding of an important vaccine against malaria in newborns.  Data collected by at the Malawi-Liverpool-Clinical Reserch Programme led by IGH  helped Malawi introduce pneumococcal conjugate vaccines and rotavirus vaccines earlier than other African sites. 

The benefits of these vaccines to disease and child mortality and to economic growth have been shown by our research. Our field workers and epidemiologists continuously work towards optimising the best use of vaccines to achieve the greatest benefit. While our microbiologists and molecular biologists are on the hunt for germs that mutate to escape the effect of vaccines, and are on a constant search for new vaccine candidates. Together with Malawian clinicans and scientists, these efforts ensure ongoing improvements in the health of children in Malawi, and a productive and impactful scientific process that maximises public health.

Join us throughout the week to find out more about our in vaccines. You can follow information from other organisations on Twitter using #VaccinesWork 

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