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