Vomiting robot named Larry helps scientists study norovirus

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Scientists have additional help in their fight against the dreaded norovirus: Larry the projectile vomiting robot.

The robot is said to mimick a human being by vomiting in order to see how the norovirus can spread.

Larry's official title is a "humanoid simulated vomiting system."

BBC reported that Larry has proven the virus can spread up to 10 feet when traveling through air via bile.

"It takes fewer than 20 virus particals to infect someone," said Ian Goodfellow at the University of Cambridge, according to UPI.

"So each droplet of vomit or gram of feces from an infected person can contain enough virus to infect more than 100,000 people."

Norovirus is one of the most infectious viruses in the world and causes extreme vomiting and diarrhea for a number of days in some people.

NBC reported that the virus often occurs in winter but the seasons are getting longer and longer.

The virus has recenty been linked to cruises - a situation in which many people are in a tightly confined space.

Two Caribbean cruises over the Christmas holidays saw hundreds fall ill with the virus, reported The Telegraph.

The norovirus is mostly harmless but can cause extreme discomfort as the picture above suggests.

It affects about 21 million people in the US annually - the second most common virus in the country.

To see a video from the BBC of the vomiting robot click here.