Leaping the norovirus hurdle

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Science  07 Nov 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6210, pp. 700-701
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa0607

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Noroviruses are the leading cause of viral gastroenteritis worldwide with over 1 million hospitalizations and more than 200,000 deaths per year (1). Outbreaks have been on the rise, particularly in hospitals, dormatories, and cruise ships. A major hurdle to understanding norovirus biology is the inability to culture human strains in the laboratory since the first human norovirus was identified over 40 years ago (2). On page 755 of this issue, Jones et al. (3) solve this problem. In discovering that human norovirus can infect B cells in vitro, the authors find that bacteria promote viral replication and may have been the missing factor.