Important Events in the History of Astrovirus

1975: The term Astrovirus(Astron, "star" in Greek) is coined by Madeley and Cosgrove following visualization by electron microscopy. Astroviruses are linked to infantile diarrhea.

1981: Lee and Kurtz isolate human astrovirus in primary human embryonic kidney cells, and succeed in growing the virus in cell culture. This distinguishes the virus from other agents, such as the Norwalk agent, which cannot be grown in culture.

1984: 5 serotypes of human astroviruses are recognized. Today that number has been extended to seven.

1988: Astrovirus specific monoclonal antibodies are developed by Hermann eral. This allows them to diagnose Astrovirus gastroenteritis using enzyme immunoassays.

1989: Serotype 6 is recognized in the UK.

1991: Serotype 7 is also recognized in the UK.

1992: A study by Cruz and colleagues demonstrates the presence of Astroviruses in 38.6% of rural Guatemalan children.

1994: Lee and Kurtz do a study which indicates serotype 1 is the cause of 65% of Astrovirus infections.

1994: The Astrovirus genome is completely sequenced.

1994: Astrovirus is implicated as the sole etiologic cause of three separate outbreaks of gastroenteritis in Japan.

1995: A reverse transciption and polymerase chain reaction was designed for the detection of Astroviruses. This greatly increases the sensitivity of screening tests.

1997: A genome length, cDNA clone of Astroviruses is constructed. This allows increased study of viral replication.

1997: Astroviruses are associated with an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis among military recruits in France, showing that this virus does not only affect young children.

1998: Several studies, using RT-PCR methods, confirm the prevalence of Astrovirus infections over other gastrointestinal pathogens.

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