By John von Radowitz
A vaccine against the notorious norovirus ‘winter vomiting bug’ could be available within five years, scientists believe.
Two rival groups in the US are working on vaccines that are close to being tested in clinical trials.
Unlike conventional ‘jabs’, they would not be injected into the bloodstream but sprayed or puffed into the nose as a liquid or dry powder.
Inside the nostrils they would trigger an immune response that is repeated when a norovirus enters the stomach.
Noroviruses produce non-fatal but extremely unpleasant bouts of illness leading to violent repeated vomiting and diarrhoea. The viral particles can be carried in the air or on tiny amounts of contaminated food and are highly contagious.
Recent reports have highlighted norovirus outbreaks sweeping through cruise ships and forcing the closure of hospital wards.
Professor Charles Arntzen from Arizona State University, who leads the team developing the ‘powder puff’ vaccine, said: “Where we are at the present time is we’re coming up with a vaccine which will be in a little spray device.