What Work Is Being Done to Fight Diarrhea in the Developing World?

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The other half of my lab studies viral infectious disease, both respiratory viruses, diarrhea viruses as well as viruses that infect veterinary animals, insects and a wide variety of other scenarios. In the case of diarrhea, some large fraction depends on where it is geographically if diarrhea is caused by virus, for example the rota virus.

Now they have been great advances such as the rota virus vaccine, that are going to save if not already saving millions of lives. However, some, depending on the situation and where we are in the world anywhere from 10-30% of diarrhea that does not appear to be bacterial it's likely to be virus, is still without a known cause and so we've undertaken efforts both domestically and with our colleagues working in Nicaragua and now Uganda and potentially other places to look at both pediatric samples as well adult samples to understand the causes of diarrhea.

In the United States here with our colleagues at Stanford we basically co-discovered a new virus that is involved in probably around 5 to 10% of the diarrhea that's seen in children. What's the worldwide distribution of this virus and where is it more prevalent, those are being done now but I believe that there's going to be other viruses like that contribute to the overall burden of diarrhea and the rota virus vaccines for viruses are possible and can save lives.