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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Aug;77(15):5476-82. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02801-10. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Randomized, double-blinded clinical trial for human norovirus inactivation in oysters by high hydrostatic pressure processing.

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  • 1Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Room 6041 Claudia Nance Rollins Building, 1518 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Contamination of oysters with human noroviruses (HuNoV) constitutes a human health risk and may lead to severe economic losses in the shellfish industry. There is a need to identify a technology that can inactivate HuNoV in oysters. In this study, we conducted a randomized, double-blinded clinical trial to assess the effect of high hydrostatic pressure processing (HPP) on Norwalk virus (HuNoV genogroup I.1) inactivation in virus-seeded oysters ingested by subjects. Forty-four healthy, positive-secretor adults were divided into three study phases. Subjects in each phase were randomized into control and intervention groups. Subjects received Norwalk virus (8FIIb, 1.0 × 10(4) genomic equivalent copies) in artificially seeded oysters with or without HPP treatment (400 MPa at 25°C, 600 MPa at 6°C, or 400 MPa at 6°C for 5 min). HPP at 600 MPa, but not 400 MPa (at 6° or 25°C), completely inactivated HuNoV in seeded oysters and resulted in no HuNoV infection among these subjects, as determined by reverse transcription-PCR detection of HuNoV RNA in subjects' stool or vomitus samples. Interestingly, a white blood cell (granulocyte) shift was identified in 92% of the infected subjects and was significantly associated with infection (P = 0.0014). In summary, these data suggest that HPP is effective at inactivating HuNoV in contaminated whole oysters and suggest a potential intervention to inactivate infectious HuNoV in oysters for the commercial shellfish industry.

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