Global health R&D at work in Nevada
A team of scientists from three universities, including the University of Nevada, conducted research that uncovered how the bacteria Shigella causes shigellosis, a diarrheal disease that kills more than 1 million people each year. When Shigella bacteria invade a human host, environmental conditions stimulate a process within the bacteria that allows them to thrive. Central to this transformation are two proteins that work together to increase the bacteria’s harmfulness. The team found that production of one of the proteins can be controlled separately from the other, a discovery that could lead to new treatments. For large numbers of people living in low-income countries, targeted and improved antibiotics could mean the difference between life and death. No vaccine currently exists for Shigella.