Since the late 1990s norovirus (NoV) strains belonging to a single genotype (GII.4) have caused at least four global epidemics. To date, the higher epidemiological fitness of the GII.4 strains has been attributed to a faster rate of evolution within the virus capsid, resulting in the ability to escape herd immunity. Four key factors have been proposed to influence the rate of evolution in NoV. These include host receptor recognition, sequence space, duration of herd immunity, and replication kinetics. In this review we discuss recent advancements in our understanding of these four mechanisms in relation to GII.4 evolution.
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