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Streipen lab receives $1 million for cryptosporidium research

Fantastic news from one of our best, rewarding the hard work of his team to fight one of the world's most pervasive scourges:

Researchers at the University of Georgia have received $1 million from the Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to speed the development of new drugs for the treatment of cryptosporidiosis, a major cause of diarrheal disease and mortality in young children around the world.

Cryptosporidiosis is caused by cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite commonly spread through tainted drinking or recreational water. There is currently no vaccine and only a single drug of modest efficacy available to treat cryptosporidiosis.

"Cryptosporidiosis is a tremendous public health challenge," said Boris Striepen, Distinguished Research Professor in Cellular Biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and a member of UGA's Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases. "We are extremely grateful to the Trust and the Foundation for providing generous support and leadership to drive a global research agenda to face this challenge."

Cryptosporidium is notoriously difficult to study in the laboratory, and this has stalled the development of better treatments. But earlier this year, Striepen and his research group created new tools to genetically manipulate the parasite, and his team will use funds from the Wellcome Trust and Gates Foundation to leverage this new technology and speed drug discovery.

We've previously noted the persistence of Striepen's investigations, which are producing results, attracting the best young researchers from around the world, and continuing to earn the financial support necessary to see the work through. It's the complete package, and news like this can sometimes obscure the many difficulties and obstacles. But we celebrate this intensive research effort and the many millions worldwide who will live better lives because of it.

Image: Boris Striepen, courtesy of UGA photo

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