Friday February 22, 2019

You May Soon Be Able to Prevent Chikungunya With Vaccines! IIT-Roorkee Researchers Discover Drug to Fight the Disease

At present, there are no immunizations or anti-viral medications available to cure Chikungunya, and the treatment is focused on mitigating the side effects related with the disease

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cases of dengue
Dengue and Chikungunya are viral diseases transmitted to humans via infected mosquitoes. Pixabay

Roorkee, October 9, 2017 : Dengue and Chikungunya are known to strike fear in the country every year, so much so that the health graph of the city registers a steep rise in these cases. Both of the water-borne diseases, characterized by high fever and pain in the joints, take a toll on our lives. So far, there is no vaccine to immunize people against the spread of the Dengue and Chikungunya virus. However, researchers at IIT-Roorkee have now discovered that a commonly-utilized de-worming drug can be efficiently used for treatments against Chikungunya.

According to a report by PTI, Shailly Tomar, lead researcher and a professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee in Uttarakhand was quoted as saying, “Our research has shown that piperazine, a drug existing in the market, is successful in curbing the spread and replication of the Chikungunya virus in a lab setting.”

The drug, Piperazine, is usually used in de-worming treatments against round-words and pinworms. Using their expertise in virology and structure biology, experts have now discovered the anti-viral capabilities of the drug that can potentially prompt new therapies against the fatal, mosquito borne disease.

The researchers are currently testing the molecule on animals, and will consequently take it to clinical trials.

ALSO READ What preventive steps have the city Government taken to control Dengue and Chikungunya, asks the Delhi High Court

The molecular details uncovered in the study, which has been published in the journal Antiviral Research, will be additionally used to plan piperazine-derivative medications that are more compelling to fight against the Chikungunya virus.

Using X-ray crystallographic technique, in combination with computational science and fluorescence strategies, the researchers discovered that piperazine binds itself with the hydrophobic (water-hating) pocket of capsid protein present in the Chikungunya virus, which can reduce the spread of the virus.

“This pocket is key to the replication of the virus and its spread inside a host. Inhibiting the pocket prevents budding and spread of the virus and can help in treating the virus effectively using existing drugs,” Tomar said.

Chikungunya has become a major public health concern, with an increasing number of people being plagued by the disease every year.

 At present, there are no immunizations or anti-viral medications available to cure Chikungunya, and the treatment is focused on mitigating the side effects related with the disease. 

Developing a new anti-viral drug molecule can take up to 10 years. To tend to the disease on an immediate basis, Professor Tomar added, “We are looking at repositioning existing, approved drugs and testing these to see if they might inhibit or kill pathogenic viruses.”

 

 

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Researchers Discover Novel Drug to Delay Ageing

Besides, the blood chemistry of the mice that underwent drug treatment was also found to have no adverse effects as it was similar to the untreated mice

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Go Makeup Free Once a Week to Delay Ageing
Go Makeup Free Once a Week to Delay Ageing. (Wikimedia commons)

Researchers, including one of Indian origin, have developed a new drug that can delay ageing demonstrated by declining muscle mass, strength and function.

As human bodies age, they increasingly lose the ability to repair and rebuild degenerating skeletal muscles. This can dramatically limit the ability of older adults to live fully active and independent lives.

In the study, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston identified a protein called Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) in muscle stem cells that appears to be responsible for the age-related dysfunction.

They developed a small molecule drug, NNMT inhibitor (NNMTi), which when prescribed to aged mice could limit NNMT’s effects as well as significantly increase muscle size, strength and metabolic state in the animals.

By resetting muscle stem cells to a more youthful state, the mice could be rejuvenated so that they could more effectively repair muscle tissues, the researchers explained.

“There are no treatments currently available to delay, arrest or reverse age-related muscle degeneration,” said Harshini Neelakantan, research scientist at UTMB.

Makeup can speed up the process of ageing.
Slow down skin ageing by this drug. Pixabay

“These initial results support the development of an innovative drug treatment that has the potential to help the elderly to become fitter, faster and stronger, thus enabling them to live more active and independent lives as they age,” she added.

For the study, published in Biochemical Pharmacology, the team treated ageing mice, suffering from muscle injury, with the drug or a placebo.

Following seven days of treatment, researchers saw that the aged mice, which received the drug, had more functional muscle stem cells than the placebo mice.

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Moreover, the size of the muscle fibres doubled and the strength also increased significantly.

Besides, the blood chemistry of the mice that underwent drug treatment was also found to have no adverse effects as it was similar to the untreated mice. (IANS)