Beating back the mumps
Mumps may seem like a disease of a bygone era to many people, but a UGA professor is fighting a new strain of the virus that threatens to spread. Biao He, a professor of infectious diseases and a Georgia Research Alliance distinguished investigator in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a new vaccine for the new infection. Although not typically a life-threatening disease, mumps can lead to serious health problems such as viral meningitis, hearing loss and pancreatitis; and it can cause miscarriage during early pregnancy. Vaccinations, in use since 1967, diminished the number of cases dramatically, but two large outbreaks of the virus in 2006 and 2010 forced researchers to question the effectiveness of the drug today.