By Cath McLeod
The objective of this project was to develop Australian novel detection technology that when licensed to seafood diagnostic laboratories will reduce the risk of oyster-borne illness due to the adoption by the industry of a proactive economical, efficient and effective monitoring program for the presence of the norovirus (NoV). The single most important threat to the integrity and sustainability of the Australian oyster industry in both the domestic and export markets is the continual risk of food borne illness caused by the consumption of oysters infected with NoV which can lead to the development of a viral infection of the gastro-intestinal tract.
Norovirus cannot be cultured in cells, despite years of intensive effort; therefore we propose a different approach to resolving the problem. This project aims to utilise existing knowledge about norovirus cell surface receptors to develop state-of-the-art optical sensing technology to better estimate the infectivity of noroviruses, thereby reducing risk of “false positives” and punitive regulatory action. This project aimed to develop sensor surface functionality of the novel detection technology to improve discrimination between infectious and non-infectious NoV viruses
This demanding project brings together high calibre, internationally renowned scientists. The new technology and international collaboration proposed, will create a platform to detect and effectively manage other viruses and foodborne hazards in seafood and other food, environmental and biological products – and has significant commercialisation potential.