Dhaka, Sept 30 (UNB) – Prof David B Sachar, a former icddr,b scientist, has been awarded with Golden Goose Award 2019 by the ‘American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)’ at the Library of Congress, Washington, USA.
The annual award celebrates groundbreaking, federally funded basic research that has had a significant impact on human life, scientific advances, and societal needs.
Prof Sachar was recognised for his over fifty years old research “The Frog Skin That Saved 50 Million Lives” conducted in Dhaka (then Dacca, East Pakistan) that led to the development of oral rehydration therapy by Dr David Nalin and Dr Richard A Cash, said icddr,b on Monday.
Prof John D Clemens, Executive Director at icddr,b and a scientist dedicated his scientific career in the development, evaluation, and introduction of the world’s only safe, effective, and affordable oral cholera vaccines (OCVs), noted the incredible work of Prof Sachar that led him to this prestigious award after 53 years of his research.
He said “It was one of the most important breakthrough that led the development of oral rehydration solution. However, the recognition even though comes after 53 years is indeed another feather in the cap of icddr,b’s success.”
In the 1960s, as a young Harvard-trained doctor and researcher of intestine mechanisms David Sachar joined Cholera Research Laboratory (CRL) in the East Pakistan (now icddr,b, also known as International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh), which was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control.
While many of his fellow Harvard friends set out on traditional routes to obtain domestic fellowships and work in leading U.S. research labs, Prof Sachar said, “I was compelled by the Public Health Service’s mission, and the emerging importance of international development, to serve his country, and ‘to save the world’ at the same time.”
In 1966, Prof Sachar started measuring electric potentials across frog skins while he was in Prof. Hans Ussing’s laboratory in Copenhagen, which led him to develop an ingenious but simple method for measuring electric potential in the intact human intestine.
He used it to test the function of patients’ intestinal sodium transport during the course of cholera.
By assessing intestinal potential at the height of their diarrhea and again in convalescence, Prof Sachar demonstrated not only that active sodium absorption was intact throughout the disease, but that it was also robustly stimulated by the infusion of glucose into the intestinal lumen.
The finding, published in Gastroenterology in 1969, gave confidence for Norbert Hirschhorn another icddr,b scientists and his colleague at the time, to conduct a landmark clinical studies showing that the infusion of glucose and balanced electrolytes into the intestinal tract of cholera patients dramatically reduced and, in some cases, altogether eliminated the need for intravenous fluids.
Within two years of Prof Sachar’s findings and Hirschhorn’s clinical studies, the administration of a simple solution (sugar and electrolytes) by Dr. David Nalin and Dr. Richard Cash was perfected; it has gone on to save tens of millions of lives around the world.
The World Health Organization estimates that by drastically lowering the costs and skill needed to administer treatment, ORT has saved over 50 million lives in the past five decades.