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International "noro 2016" congress on virus research

Researchers believe sugar chains are key to fighting viral infections. Distinguished guest speaker is discoverer of Tamiflu anti-viral agent

Around 100 scientists from Europe, North America, Australia and Asia are to discuss current issues in norovirus research at the “noro 2016” from March 17-19, 2016. The congress, “Noroviruses and Beyond – Glycans as Drivers in Viral Infection”, organised by researchers at the University of Lübeck and the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute – Federal Research Institute for Animal Health (FLI), will be held in Lübeck’s Media Docks congress centre. The main topic will be the importance of sugar chains (glycanes) for the course of viral infections.

Principle of Tamiflu

The interaction of viral coat proteins with glycanes on the surface of host cells is crucial to the infection with flu viruses. Tamiflu, one of the few available anti-viral agents, prevents the removal of mature viral particles (virions) from the host cell thereby stopping the infection, according to experts. Researchers believe this type of anti-viral therapy is a general principle of fighting viral infections in which glycanes are key to the emergence of viruses in host cells. Our distinguished guest speaker and discoverer of the working principle of Tamiflu, Prof. Mark von Itzstein of Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia will highlight this aspect in his address.

Latest findings in norovirus research

The congress will also focus on highly contagious norovirus infections which are considered the main cause of gastroenteritis, for which no anti-viral medication nor vaccinations are available presently. Thus, ways of fighting norovirus infections are of very keen interest and count among the special fields of research at the University of Lübeck. Prof. Dr. Thomas Peters, Director of the Institute for Chemistry at the University of Lübeck, said: “As the congress introduces the latest findings in norovirus research and links these with related issues in glycobiology, there is justified hope of breaking new ground in the scientific discourse.”

Industrial support

The conference on norovirus research was first held in Lübeck in 2012. The “noro 2016” is supported by the German Research Association, Funds of the Chemical Industry, Boehringer Ingelheim International, Takeda, R-Biopharm and the Association for the Promotion of Glyco Sciences.

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