In the profit driven world of drug companies, one newcomer stands out since it is a nonprofit. The Institute for OneWorld Health
, based in San Francisco, announced a $46 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop new treatments for diarrhea. I'm particularly passionate about this, having spent a summer in medical school fighting diarrheal disease in infants by promoting breast feeding in rural Texas. When you've seen the miraculous recovery of a vomiting lethargic dehydrated infant after just spoonfuls of oral rehydration therapy (ORT), you too would yearn for more help for these children.
OneWorld Health will try to find a drug that would enhance ORT by assisting the intestines' effort to absorb fluid. Founder Dr. Victoria Hale recently received one of the MacArthur Foundation’s genius awards, and I have high hopes for their efforts.