Objective (Core) 1: Molecular Virology

Purpose:  Develop improved methods to facilitate the study of food borne viruses and to further elucidate the significance of viral food borne disease.

Activities for the Molecular Virology Core:

  • Develop a human norovirus (HuNoV) in vitro cultivation system
  • Validate alternative cultivable HuNoV surrogates
  • Identification of agents potentially associated with food borne (viral) disease of unknown etiology
  • Develop mathematical models to predict HuNoV emergence and virulence

Objective (Core) 2: Detection

Purpose:  Develop and validate sensitive, rapid, and practical methods to detect and genotype HuNoV in relevant sample matrices, with the ultimate goal of commercialization.

Activities for the Detection Core:

  • Develop simple, practical, broadly reactive detection methods for human clinical samples
  • Develop simple, practical, and broadly reactive detection methods for relevant non-clinical sample matrices
  • Validate and recommend method(s) to discriminate infectious from non-infectious virus
  • Methods validation (clinical and environmental/food samples)
  • Develop microarray method(s) for identification of FBV and/or emerging variant strains

Objective (Core) 3: Epidemiology and Risk Analysis

Purpose:  Collect and analyze population data on the burden of virus-associated disease, including epidemiological attribution and characterization of risk and costs.

Activities for the Epidemiology and Risk Analysis Core:

  • Develop and apply quantitative risk models
  • Estimate economic burden of HuNoV food borne disease outbreaks
  • Estimate endemic HuNoV disease burden
  • Estimate epidemic HuNoV disease burden
  • Prepare preliminary HuNoV epidemiological attribution model

Objective (Core) 4: Prevention and Control

Purpose:  Improve understanding the occurrence and behavior of HuNoV in the food safety continuum so as to inform development of scientifically justifiable control measures.

Activities for the Prevention and Control Core:

  • Evaluate and monitor virus occurrence pre- and post-harvest, including alternative microbiological indicators
  • Develop/evaluate novel antiviral agents for hand and surface disinfection in collaboration with industrial partners
  • Test efficacy of candidate technologies to remove and/or inactivate viruses and their surrogates in foods (pilot scale)
  • Move promising processing technologies toward commercialization using stage-gate approach

Objective (Core) 5: Extension and Outreach

Purpose:  Translate and disseminate new knowledge about food borne viruses into practices that reach target audiences in relevant work environments and across a wide array of stakeholder groups.

Activities for the Extension and Outreach Core:

  • Educational interventions targeting the retail and institutional food sectors to prevent virus contamination of foods
  • Develop consumer food safety materials updated to reflect emerging information on food borne viruses
  • Develop curriculum and materials to educate food safety and public health professionals (train-the-trainer)
  • Extension and outreach efforts to fresh produce industry
  • Extension and outreach efforts to molluscan shellfish industry
  • Evaluate behavioral changes

Objective (Core) 6: Capacity Building

Purpose:  Build scientific and human capacity to support increased and sustained efforts in food virology.

Activities for the Capacity Building Core:

  • Create a mechanism to foster reagent, protocol, and information exchange
  • Expand state and public health laboratory capacity in food virology
  • Expand professional capacity with a focus on increasing diversity
  • Develop graduate level Inter-disciplinary curriculum in food virology