PerspectiveInfectious Disease

The origin of diarrhea in rotavirus infection

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Science  20 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6519, pp. 909-910
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf1914

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Summary

Infectious diarrhea is a global health problem that affects more than a billion people and leads to half a million deaths in children annually (1). Among diarrhea-inducing viruses, rotavirus is one of the most important pathogens. Although a rotavirus vaccine has been licensed since 2006 and is part of the standard vaccination plan in more than 100 countries, there are differences in efficacy, particularly in developing countries (2). Therefore, it is critical to understand how rotavirus induces such extreme diarrhea episodes in infants and young children so as to provide new therapeutic approaches. On page 930 of this issue, Chang-Graham et al. (3) provide evidence in human and simian cells that intercellular signaling from rotavirus-infected cells to neighboring noninfected cells ultimately leads to diarrhea. This study shows that diarrhea can be controlled not by targeting the pathogen but by interfering with the intercellular messengers that drive pathology.

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