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Saving young lives by the million – Melbourne researcher wins $50,000 CSL Florey Medal

Professor Ruth Bishop in the Rotavirus lab (Credit: Stepping Stone Pictures)

Saving young lives by the million

Professor Ruth Bishop, 2013 CSL Florey Medallist

By their third birthday, just about every child in the world has had a rotavirus infection. Every day about 1200 children die from it; half a million children every year. That’s changing. We’re fighting back thanks to a discovery made in 1973 by a quiet Melbourne researcher—this year’s winner of the 2013 CSL Florey Medal.

That was when Ruth Bishop, Brian Ruck, Geoffrey Davidson and Ian Holmes at the Royal Children’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne’s microbiology department found a virus, now known as rotavirus. Until the middle of the last decade, it put about 10,000 Australian children in hospital each year with acute gastroenteritis. In the next decade, as a direct result of their research, millions of young lives will be saved.

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