Thursday January 18, 2018

Indian-origin researcher working to beat ‘superbugs’

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Researchers, including one of the Indian-origin, have developed novel peptide-like analogs or peptoids that have the similar antimicrobial properties as peptides but more robust.

The discovery paves the way for the creation of new generation antibiotics that can defeat the so-called multi-drug resistant bacteria “superbugs”.

Like proteins, peptides are are chains of amino acids that participate in the metabolic system of living organisms and the immune system.

They are the first line of defense against a broad range of pathogens and are released by the body in the earliest stage of infection.

These peptides are attractive antimicrobials. However, they degrade in the body and have the short half-life.

Rinki Kapoor along with her PhD advisor and professor Annelise Barron of Stanford University studied novel mimics of antimicrobial peptides or peptoids for their antibacterial activity against multi-drug resistant bacteria, also known as superbugs.

In one of their studies, they showed that peptoids kill resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa — one of the leading bug causing hospital associated infections.

The group synthesised seven different peptoids and compared their activity with three different antibiotics.

In a separate study, Kapoor and Barron also revealed that peptoids kill resistant Mycobacteria — bacteria responsible for causing Tuberculosis, a leading cause of death worldwide. In this study, published in the journal of antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy (AAC), they evaluated the efficacy of six different peptoids against Mycobacteria.

“These molecules are currently under research and development and merit further studies to investigate their potential as the new class of drugs for treating resistant bacterial infections,” Kapoor told IANS in a statement.(IANS)

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Government ends Haj subsidy as part of a new policy

Announcing the decision, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was in line with the government's agenda to empower minorities without appeasing them.

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A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. Wikimedia Commons
A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. Wikimedia Commons
  • The government had drafted the policy after the Supreme Court asked it in 2012 to withdraw it gradually by 2022
  • The government would utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls
  • This year, the highest number of Indian pilgrims are likely to go for the pilgrimage

The central government on Tuesday said it has decided to withdraw subsidy given to hundreds and thousands of Muslims for the annual Haj pilgrimage.

Announcing the decision, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was in line with the government’s agenda to empower minorities without appeasing them.

“This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” Naqvi told reporters here.

He said the government would utilise the funds saved from withdrawing the subsidy for the education of minorities, particularly girls.

Also Read: Muslim women can now travel to Haj without Mahram

The government had drafted the policy to abolish the Haj subsidy in a phased manner after the Supreme Court asked it in 2012 to withdraw it gradually by 2022.

This year, the highest number of Indian pilgrims are likely to go for the pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased India’s quota by 5,000.

A total of 1.75 lakh Indian Muslims can go for Haj this year. IANS

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