Monday January 20, 2020

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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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.”

 

 

Next Story

Researchers Develop AI Tool To Detect Mental Health Issues

Tracking changes in clinical states is important to detect if there is a change that shows whether the condition has improved or worsened that would warrant the need for changing treatment

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The USC Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (SAIL), which has long applied artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to identify and classify video, audio and physiological data, partnered with researchers to analyse voice data from patients being treated for serious mental illnesses. Pixabay

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can accurately detect changes in clinical states in voice data of patients with bipolar, schizophrenia and depressive disorders as accurately as attending doctors.

“Machine learning allowed us to illuminate the various clinically-meaningful dimensions of language use and vocal patterns of the patients over time and personalised at each individual level,” said Indian-origin researcher and study senior author Shri Narayanan from University of Southern California (USC) in the US.

The USC Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (SAIL), which has long applied artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify and classify video, audio and physiological data, partnered with researchers to analyse voice data from patients being treated for serious mental illnesses.

For the results, the researchers used the ‘MyCoachConnect’ interactive voice and mobile tool, created and hosted on the Chorus platform to provide voice diaries related to their mental health states.

SAIL team then collaborated with researchers to apply artificial intelligence to listen to hundreds of voicemails using custom software to detect changes in patients’ clinical states. According to the study, the AI was able to match clinicians’ ratings of their patients.

Tracking changes in clinical states is important to detect if there is a change that shows whether the condition has improved or worsened that would warrant the need for changing treatment, the researchers said.

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Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can accurately detect changes in clinical states in voice data of patients with bipolar, schizophrenia and depressive disorders as accurately as attending doctors. Pixabay

This project builds on SAIL’s body of work in behavioural machine intelligence to analyse psychotherapy sessions to detect empathy of addiction counselors-in-training in order to improve their chances of better outcomes, in addition to the Lab’s work analysing language for cognitive diagnoses and legal processes.

ALSO READ: Here’s How Fitbit Smartwatch May Help You Predict Flu in Real-Time

“Our approach builds on that fundamental technique to hear what people are saying about using the modern AI. We hope this will help us better understand how our patients are doing and transform mental health care to be more personalised and proactive to what an individual needs,” said study lead author Armen Arevian. (IANS)