Dr. Boris Striepen is featured in an NPR segment discussing his progress in the fight against a parasite that is a major cause of diarrheal disease in the developing world. It is contracted by drinking contaminated water. In the developing world, "small children can develop chronic diarrhea and die from the disease," says Striepen.
Finding new cures and a vaccine for the parasite, Cryptosporidium parvum, has been hampered because scientists have not been able to grow it in a laboratory. There is also a lack of genetic tools.
Using new technology, Striepen and his colleagues have been able to develop a system for altering genes in Cryptosporidium. "Using laboratory animals we can propagate the infection, and therefore we can also propagate these organisms that we have changed," he says. These infected animals can be used to test drug or vaccine candidates.
His segment can be heard at the following link: