Seeking cures for diarrheal diseases

Diarrheal diseases continue to exert a staggering disease burden worldwide. According to the WHO, there are approximately 1.7 billion cases of diarrheal disease globally.  Sixty percent of the estimated 1.3 million child deaths occur in just 10 countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Bangladesh, Kenya and Niger.  Mortality results not from the infections causing diarrhea, but due to the associated dehydration. Chronic dehydration also has an impact on child development, and many children with repeated diarrheal infections are often stunted physically and intellectually.  Thus, effectively reducing the fluid loss from acute diarrhea offers a major opportunity for globally improving child health and well-being.

Liquid replenishment with an oral rehydration solution (ORS) is currently the only  therapy that is recommended for children with acute diarrhea.  While ORS are good at replenishing fluid and electrolytes in infected children, they do not markedly reduce diarrhea, which is triggered by toxins produced by viral and bacterial gut pathogens.  These toxins bind to receptors in the intestine, causing an increase in secretion and decrease in absorption, resulting in diarrhea.  Medosome Biotec, LLC and its research partners at University of Florida have discovered a receptor in the gut that has a potent anti-diarrheal mechanism.  They have identified a few simple ingredients that act on this receptor to reduce secretion and increase absorption.  Using this information, MBT and its research partners at the University of Florida developed a modified ORS that rehydrates the child and stops the diarrhea.