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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rotaviruses (RVs) are a large genetically diverse population of segmented double-stranded (ds) RNA viruses that are important causes of gastroenteritis in many animal species. The human RVs are responsible for the deaths of nearly 450,000 infants and young children each year, most occurring in developing countries. Recent large-scale sequencing efforts have revealed that the genomes of human RVs typically consist of phylogenetically linked constellations of eleven dsRNA segments. The presence of such preferred constellations indicate that the human RV genes have co-evolved to produce protein sets that work optimally together to support virus replication. Two of the viral genes encode virion outer capsid proteins (VP7 and VP4) whose antigenic properties define the G/P type of the virus. From year-to-year and place-to-place, the G/P type of human RVs associated with disease can fluctuate dramatically, phenomena that can be associated with the presence and behavior of genetically distinct RV clades. The recent introduction of two live attenuated RV vaccines [RotaTeq (TM) and Rotarix (TM)] into the childhood vaccination programs of various countries has been highly effective in reducing the incidence of RV diarrheal disease. Whether the widespread use of these vaccines will introduce selective pressures on human RVs, triggering genetic and antigenic changes that undermine the effectiveness of vaccinations programs, is uncertain and will require continued surveillance of human RVs.
No preview · Article · Jan 2012 · Discovery medicine