Rotavirus Research

Rotaviruses belong to the Reoviridae family, which possess a segmented double-stranded RNA genome.

Rotaviruses infect and replicate in the villous enterocytes of the small intestine, causing structural and functional changes of the intestinal epithelium and diarrhea.

Rotavirus infection is the most common cause of severe viral gastroenteritis in children under 5 years of age in the United States, leading to a tremendous disease burden with costs to health care and society exceeding one billion dollars annually. Rotavirus causes even more immense morbidities and mortalities in developing countries.

Vaccination is recognized as the only control measure having a significant impact on the incidence of rotavirus gastroenteritis and is considered the first-line strategy for disease prevention. However, the current vaccines only provide 30-42% protection rate against rotavirus gastroenteritis in the poorest Asian and African countries where rotaviruses cause the highest numbers of mortality among the estimated 527,000 deaths due to rotavirus infection globally each year.

The knowledge generated by our studies will provide new strategies and methods to effectively modulate the immunological processes involved in rotavirus infection/vaccination, thus enhancing the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of rotavirus vaccines.