Considered to be the most common cause of severe diarrhoea in children, the tummy bug rotavirus attacks cells through carbohydrate receptors present on a child’s intestinal cells, a new study has found.
The study could greatly assist in understanding how this virus starts to infect cells and provides new direction in potential drug discovery, said co-senior author Mark von Itzstein, a professor at the Institute for Glycomics, Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.
“Our findings greatly advance our understanding of the sugar receptors used by human rotaviruses and provide clues as to how we might target this virus to stop it infecting cells,” he said.
“What we have found is that not all human rotaviruses recognise the same sugar receptor and this important information will be invaluable in the discovery of anti-rotaviral drugs,” Barbara Coulson, an associate professor at the University of Melbourne, said.
The findings could also offer potential for new vaccine development strategies.
“We are very excited by our findings, as we now have a much better understanding of the carbohydrates important for the virus to latch on to for successful infection,” Thomas Haselhorst from the Institute for Glycomics, Australia, noted.
The study appeared in the journal Nature Communications.