Media advisory: UGA infectious diseases professor Tripp to testify before Congress May 26

Athens, Ga. — Ralph A. Tripp, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and professor of infectious diseases at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, is scheduled to testify before a House committee in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, May 26.

Professor Tripp will make a presentation to the health committee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Congressman Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), for the development of a novel drug strategy called RNA interference (RNAi). The new strategy is designed to intervene in influenza and other respiratory virus diseases, particularly respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The proposed Respiratory Viral Infection Therapy Program, in collaboration with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge, Mass.), will provide an unprecedented approach to rapidly and effectively address viral diseases that negatively impact human health and global security.

According to the CDC, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia among infants and children under 1 year of age, and that RSV is the leading cause of viral death in children under 5 years of age. There is no effective treatment or vaccine despite extensive disease burden associated with RSV infection.