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An apple a day is 100mn bacteria for your gut. Wikimedia Commons

The Vitamin C boost found in fruits such as apples can boost anti-bacterial immunity and help protect people from pneumonia, suggests new research.

The researchers found that to weaken the immune system and cause pneumonia, bacteria use hydrogen peroxide, also known as a bleaching agent that is used to whiten teeth or hair, as a stain remover, as well as for cleaning surfaces and disinfecting wounds.


“By using hydrogen peroxide to defeat the immune system, you could say that the bacteria are fighting fire with fire. The body itself also produces hydrogen peroxide as a defence against the bacteria,” said research leader Nelson Gekara from Umea University in Sweden.

“Therefore, it was surprising to see that many types of bacteria actually use the same substance to overcome the body´s defences,” he said.

“One of the best known substances with the ability to neutralise hydrogen peroxide and that could hence boost anti-bacterial immunity are vitamins such as Vitamin C found in fruits. Perhaps the old adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ is not off the mark,” Gekara added.

The researchers mainly focused their studies on Streptococcus pneumoniae. This bacterium, often called pneumococcus, is the most common bacterium causing pneumonia but can also cause, among other illnesses, meningitis or severe sepsis.


Continuous lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir is having a big impact on apple farming in the Valley. Pixabay

The ultimate goal of any invading microbe is to reside peacefully within our bodies without evoking a strong inflammatory reaction that may result in the elimination of the microbe.

The researchers have found that pneumococcus and other bacteria accomplish this by targeting a key component of the immune system – the inflammasomes.

Inflammasomes are protein complexes, which upon recognising foreign molecules, for example those found in microbes or damaged cells, initiate reactions to kill microbes and to clear diseased cells.

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The researchers found that bacteria such as pneumococci release large quantities of hydrogen peroxide, and that this causes inactivation of inflammasomes thereby weakening the immune system.

In mice models, the researchers observed that bacteria manipulated to produce less hydrogen peroxide were unable to inactivate inflammasomes and therefore elicited a faster inflammatory response that effectively cleared the bacteria from mouse lungs.

The researchers also found that by innoculating the mice with a special enzyme, catalase, which breaks down hydrogen peroxide, one could increase the inflammation and inflammatory symptoms, leading to faster elimination of pneumococci from the lung.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications. (IANS)


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As the economy continues to recover from the prolonged pandemic.

By Rohit Vaid
The Centre might bestow infrastructure as well as industry status to new sectors to boost several pandemic hit industries in the upcoming Union Budget. Industry insiders said that several sectors and sub-industries such as hospitality, automobile retail, specific diganotics facilities and companies engaged in installation of EV charging stations amongst others might get the status.
The infra tag will enable these sectors to avail tax breaks, incentives and credit on lower interest rates. "Sectors which are in greenfield or which would need capex augmentation to help them overcome the pandemic can be looked from the lens of an infrastructure sector," said Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, Director and Practice Leader, Transport & Logistics, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory. "Also many of the already identified sectors need a sustained policy push which will help them get visibility both in terms of quantum and the time period of applicability."

Till now, activities associated with laying of power and telecom transmission and distribution lines, roads, highways, railways and construction of facilities such as hospitals, affordable housing, power generation units, water treatment plants, SEZs and certain type of hotels amongst others were given such status.

Besides, these sectors are a part of harmonised master list for infrastructure sub-sectors. However, in April 2021, exhibition-cum-convention centre was included in the list. "Given the focus around electric vehicle, and need for significant investment in charging stations, if the government adds the sector in infrastructure list, the benefits arising out of it will be significant," said Vishal Kotecha, Director, India Ratings and Research. "Infra tag on sectors increases ability to raise funds, access to dedicated funds and lenders, foreign capital, lower interest rates among others."

Electric car Given the focus on electric vehicles, the advantages of including the industry in the infrastructure list will be enormous. Free SVG

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A team is working to produce safest medicine for covid treatment.

A team led by chief scientist Ravi Shankar, is working on two combinations to provide the safest medication to coronavirus patients. "Experts say that a combination of antivirals with different mechanisms can be more effective to counter the viral pandemic. We are working on two combinations - Umifenovir with Molnupiravir (an antiviral) and Umifenovir with Niclosamide (anti-parasitic)," he said.

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Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India and abroad. Though its usage showed reduced hospitalisation during clinical trials, its biggest drawback are the side-effects, he added.

"Now, we are trying to keep a low dosage of Molnupiravir in its combination with Umifenovir which may weed out the side-effects such as the risk of cartilage and muscle damage. If successful, it will make Umifenovir more effective in Covid-19 treatment," said the chief scientist. The other combination is Umifenovir with Niclosamide.

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MEA Jaishankar instructed Indian envoys to Canada and the US, "to urgently respond to the situation."

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Friday instructed Indian envoys to Canada and the US, Ajay Bisaria and Taranjit Singh Sandhu, "to urgently respond to the situation" where four Indian nationals including an infant have lost their lives on the US-Canada border. The minister said this in a public tweet. Neither of the two missions have responded on the microblogging site till the time of filing of this report.

In a statement Thursday without identifying the victims, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stated that "on the morning of January 19, 2022, RCMP officers with the Integrated Border Enforcement Team received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States".

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) RCMP officers received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States.Wikipedia

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