NAPLES, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, February 5, 2018 – A tool used by sheriffs in the Wild West—the “Wanted” poster—has been resurrected, and its reward upped to $1 million, to broaden the search for scientists willing to hunt down a germ likely causing Alzheimer’s disease, says Leslie Norins, MD, PhD, CEO of Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc, sponsor of a global contest to find the theorized microbe.
“Yes, it’s an unusual image to harness in the service of medical research, and some may even call it hokey, says Dr. Norins. “But because Alzheimer’s cases are increasing, and we don’t yet know its cause or cure, we feel the many clues indicating a germ is at work need more intense investigation immediately,” he says.
“We don’t know for sure the germ is out there, but we can guarantee that if we don’t search at all it never can be found,” he adds. Getting more scientists to be on the lookout for a microbe will help, he says, and the novelty of the “Wanted” poster is needed to draw attention amidst the usual run of science images and texts.
Researchers enter the challenge using a form on the website. The challenge award’s poster resembles the old-style “Wanted” ones, often found tacked to a tree, yellowed from age and weather. One difference is that the “Wanted” item is not a robber, but the Alzheimer’s germ, to be caught “dead or alive.” And the current $1 million reward makes the bounties of the Wild West look paltry. Dr. Norins says the Alzheimer’s germ award contest is off to a good start.
“In just the first two weeks, about a dozen inquiries have been received from scientists around the world, and public support has been incredible—over 10,000 have signed our online citizen’s petition demanding more research on possible microbes and sending ‘likes’ on Facebook.”
Alzheimer’s Germ Quest, Inc., was founded in 2017, and is based in Naples, FL. It is independent and not associated with any other government, nonprofit, or advocacy group. It is privately held and does not solicit or accept outside donations.
Dr. Norins, CEO, is a veteran medical newsletter publisher. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Duke Medical School, and the University of Melbourne, where he trained in immunology with Sir Macfarlane Burnet, Nobel Laureate, at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute. In his early career he directed the Venereal Disease Research Laboratory at the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).