WXXI AM News

One "Shot" Away From a Stomach Flu Vaccine

May 9, 2012

University of Rochester scientists are gearing up to test a new vaccine designed to stop the norovirus, the microbe behind most cases of what people commonly call the stomach flu.

The U.S. government is keeping a close eye on the vaccine's test study as well. The symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramps and vomiting. The illness usually only lasts a day or two but affects more than 20 million Americans each year.

Dr. John Treanor is chief of the Infectious Disease Division at the University of Rochester. He says the norovirus can be temporarily disabling, which can pose a major threat to the country's defense system.

"When you have a lot of people living in close confined circumstances like army barracks or military bases, you can have these outbreaks spread quite quickly among the troops," says Dr. Treanor.

Dr. Treanor says the vaccine will be tested on 20 patients in a closely monitored and isolated hospital environment for 6 days. Study participants will be closely monitored in an isolated and controlled environment for 6 days. If the study is a success, the shot could be made available to the public within the next 5 years.