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Studies of Gastroenteritis Viruses by Electron Microscopy


For over three decades, the electron microscope has been an integral part of the research program of the Epidemiology Section regarding the etiologic role, natural history and physical characteristics of various important enteric viruses. Past highlights of these investigations have included inquiry into the etiology of diseases of unknown cause involving studies of fastidious agents of disease that defied cultivation in any cell culture system. <P> The electron microscope played a major role (i) in the discovery of the 27nm Norwalk virus (now known as a member of the norovirus genus in the calicivirus family) and the establishment of its etiologic role in human diarrheal disease, and (ii) in collaboration with the Hepatitis Viruses Section (HVS), in the discovery of the 27nm hepatitis A virus particle and establishment of its etiologic role in infectious hepatitis and in addition in studies of the hepatitis E virus with the HVS . It also was used as an important epidemiologic tool for the detection of rotaviruses in stools of infants and young children hospitalized with diarrhea and helped in establishing the importance of these agents in severe diarrhea of infants and young children. Although intensive efforts have been made, the Norwalk and related human enteric noroviruses have yet to be cultivated in any tissue culture system. <P> This, along with the visualization of virus-like particles (VLPs) of certain members of this group of agents, have contributed to the continuing important role of the electron microscope in the research program of the LID. Although the electron microscope had limited use since the previous annual report, the electron microscope will continue to be an important primary and adjunctive tool in various capacities. Since last year's annual report, it was used by Dr. Green to demonstrate that numerous VLPs were present in a norovirus construct (NV-2007) prepared by Dr.Bok.

Kapikian, Albert
DHHS/NIH - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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