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The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) will shortly propose a method for detecting the genome of enteric viruses (Norovirus and/or hepatitis A virus) in food matrices, of which molluscs. Although detection of the genome cannot distinguish between infectious and non-infectious viruses, the precautionary principle will lead to the elimination of positive batches, which will concern 4,8 to 53,2 % of mollusc samples.
Enteric viruses are composed of a genome and a capsid protein that alternates between being very resistant to environmental conditions and a less stable state that allows cells to be infected. The initial hypotheses is that the changeover between these two states relies essentially on the level of oxidation of capsid proteins. The aim is to establish a link between the oxidation state of the capsid proteins, infectivity and resistance to virucidal treatments.
The programme is composed of three parts :
 - 1) to define the differences in oxidation states between infectious and non-infectious viral particles,
 - 2) to characterise the oxidation states via physico-chemical criteria (size of the viral particles, surface charge, hydrophobic character, viral adherence,...),
 - 3) to assess the infectivity of viral particles depending on the level of oxidation.
Eventually, the plan is to propose strategies which will allow us to distinguish between infectious and non-infectious viruses, as well as innovative virucidal treatments using modification of the oxidation state in proteins.

This project, labellised by the AQUIMER Pole of Competitiveness on the 1st March 2012, is co-labellised by the Pôle Valorial.


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