Novel Therapy Targeting the Cryptosporidium Virus
Nigel Yarlett of Pace University in the U.S. will determine whether a virus that infects the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium is a valuable target for developing drugs against the associated chronic diarrheal disease, which causes substantial morbidity and mortality in young children in low-resource settings. The double-stranded RNA Cryspoviruses are not harmful to the parasite, and instead likely enhance the parasite's ability to infect and harm humans. They will create a continuous in vitro culture of the Cryptosporidium parasite carrying viruses that will be genetically modified to fluoresce for easy monitoring, and also use RNA interference to generate a parasite strain that does not contain any viruses. These tools will be used to study the role of the virus in the growth and development of the parasite. Ultimately, a drug targeting the virus, rather than the parasite itself, may be less toxic to the good bacteria in the human gut, and less likely to drive the development of drug resistance.