Friday March 23, 2018

India and Africa are the next Destination for Malaria Parasites: Study

Sri Lanka is supposed to be malaria-free and it too should start worrying.

Malaria, Wikimedia

Bengaluru, Feb 3, 2017: Detection of malaria parasites resistant to the front line artemisinin (ART) combination therapy in some south Asian countries should worry India, Govindarajan Padmanabhan a top biochemist and malaria researcher at the Indian Institute of Science here has warned.

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Africa and India can as well be the superbug’s next destination and, if it spreads, this will pose a disaster, Padmanabhan told this correspondent, adding: Sri Lanka is supposed to be malaria-free and it too should start worrying.

The British journal Lancet Infectious Diseases had recently reported that P. falciparum malaria parasites resistant to both ART and its widely used partner drug, piperaquine, are now spreading quickly throughout western Cambodia, southern Laos and northeastern Thailand.

The study, by researchers at Mahidol University in Thailand and Oxford University, warned that the consequences of resistance spreading further into India and Africa could be grave if drug resistance is not tackled from a global public health emergency perspective.

Artemisinin, also known as qinghaosu — extracted from the Artemisia annua plant — is a powerful and perhaps the only really effective anti-malarial at present. But because ART has a very short half-life, the World Health Organisation had insisted that it should only be used as a combination with another long-acting anti-malarial.

Thus came the combination therapies: ART-lumefantrine, ART-meflaquine, ART- Sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine (ART-SP) and Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ).

Padmanabhan said that over the years, the malaria parasite had developed resistance even to many combination therapies, except DHA-PPQ, that had remained very effective.

Now the recent report of the parasite’s resistance to this combination also is really worrisome.

The spread of resistance will be a huge challenge to health workers, he said. This challenge will always go on and that is why I really want to try ART-curcumin combination, which may be an answer to resistance development, the scientist noted.

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Curcumin, is the compound that gives turmeric (haldi) its trademark bright yellow colour.

The ART-curcumin combination is unique, with potential advantages over the known combination therapies, Padmanabhan said. In trials carried out on mice, three oral doses of curcumin following a single injection of artemisinin to infected mice were able to ensure almost 100 per cent survival of the animals.

In addition to having a direct killing effect as an anti-malarial, curcumin is also able to prime the immune system against malaria parasites in mice rendering the combination to act like a therapeutic vaccine, Padmanabhan said.

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Thus, this combination has unique potential to prevent parasite recrudescence and relapse. Besides it is cheap and no resistance against it is known since it is a dietary supplement.

Padmanaban and his team are hoping to start human trials of an artemisinin-curcumin combination therapy in both simple malaria cases and in the treatment of the deadly cerebral malaria. He said regulatory clearances are awaited.


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Acer launches new gaming desktop in India

Taiwanese hardware and electronics brand Acer on Wednesday launched its "Predator Orion 9000" gaming desktop in India

Acer releases new desktop in india. IANS

Taiwanese hardware and electronics brand Acer on Wednesday launched its “Predator Orion 9000” gaming desktop in India. Starting at Rs 319,999, the gaming desktop features powerful Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition processors with up to 18 cores and 36 threads and up to two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti graphics cards, the company said in a statement. It is the first gaming desktop with Intel’s Core i9 Extreme Processor and Optane Memory to be available in India, the statement added.

It is a laptop made exclusively for gaming. Pixabay

“We are thrilled to welcome to our gaming arsenal the iconic ‘Predator Orion 9000’ gaming desktop,” said Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Consumer Business Head, Acer India. The gaming desktop also features liquid cooling and Acer’s IceTunnel 2.0 to keep the temperature down while the game heats up.

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IceTunnel 2.0 is an advanced airflow management solution that separates the system into several thermal zones, each with an individual airflow tunnel to expel heat, the statement added.

“With the launch of this, we have moved a step closer to our commitment of delivering the best gaming products for gamers at every level,” Panigrahi said. The “Predator Orion 9000” is available at select Croma stores and Acer Exclusive stores. IANS