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OneWorld Health compiles comprehensive state of infectious diarrhea treatments, potential solutions

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What is being done about this today? Currently marketed antidiarrheal drugs are not safe for use in young children, and there are no approved drugs for children with diarrhea. Most therapies today target the adult travelers' market with little consideration for pediatric use. Some vaccines focus on one pathogen, such as rotavirus, although there are multiple causative pathogens.

Efforts are also underway to prevent exposure to the pathogens responsible for diarrhea in developing countries. However, these require massive improvements in sanitation, hygiene, and nutritional status in developing countries, which are unlikely to have an impact in the short term.

In response, OneWorld Health is pursuing safe, effective, and affordable drug candidates for pediatric diarrhea that will reduce stool output and save babies' lives. A new drug may be used in conjunction with oral rehydration therapy (ORT) in the developing world. ORT is the globally approved treatment for secretory (watery) diarrhea that has been credited with reducing infant mortality by about half. ORT involves giving a dilute solution of sugar and salt orally to children to replace both the water and vital nutrients (electrolytes) lost in diarrhea; it does not treat the diarrhea itself. Parents, out of frustration that ORT does not reduce stool output, purchase antibiotics for their children, which are almost always ineffective and disturb normal intestinal balance.


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Contact: Joanne Hasegawa
jhasegawa@oneworldhealth.org
415-421-4700
Institute for OneWorld Health
23-Aug-2004


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