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Indian-origin Scientist part of the team that discovered natural Human Antibodies to fight Ebola viruses

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A health worker takes the temperature of people to see whether they might be infected by the Ebola virus inside the Ignace Deen government hospital in Conakry, Guinea, March 18, 2016. VOA

New York, May 23, 2017: In a first, scientists led by one of Indian-origin have discovered natural human antibodies that can neutralise and protect animals against three virulent ebola viruses, an advance that could lead to vaccines against the deadly disease.

The broadly neutralising natural human antibodies were discovered in the blood of a survivor of the 2013-16 ebola outbreak in Western Africa, which caused more than 11,000 deaths and infected over 29,000 people.

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The blood was found to contain remarkable antibodies that block not just one strain of Ebola from infecting animal cells, but all five known strains — Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Reston and Tai Forest, the researchers said.

Our discovery and characterisation of broadly neutralising human antibodies is an important step toward a single therapy that could treat or prevent infection caused by any known ebolavirus, said Kartik Chandran, professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

Previously, monoclonal antibodies — which bind to and neutralide specific pathogens and toxins — emerged as one of the most promising treatments for Ebola patients. However, the therapy targetted just one of the specific ebola virus and could not work against the others.

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In the study, published in the journal Cell, the team found that two of the 349 monoclonal antibodies — ADI-15878 and ADI-15742 — from the Ebola survivor, potently neutralised infection by all five known ebolaviruses in tissue culture.

Both the antibodies were able to protect animals (mice and ferrets) that had been exposed to a lethal dose of the three major agents: ebola virus, Bundibugyo virus and Sudan virus.

The study also pinpointed the human genes that are the likely source of the immune cells that produce the two antibodies.

“We’d like to synthesise vaccine immunogens [proteins that trigger antibody production] that can elicit the same types of broadly protective antibodies in people,” Chandran added. (IANS)

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JY Pillay: Indian Origin Civil Servant Appointed as the Acting President of Singapore

As CPA Chairman since 2005, Pillay has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip

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Acting President of Singapore
JY Pillay. Youtube
  • JY Pillay has been appointed as the acting President of Singapore
  • Pillay, also the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, is a veteran civil servant of Indian Origin
  • The Singapore polls take place on 23rd September

September 2, 2017: Indian-origin veteran civil servant JY Pillay on Friday took over as Singapore’s acting President until a new head of the state is elected later this month.

The temporary appointment of Pillay, Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA), follows the completion of President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s six-year term on Thursday, the Strait Times reported.

The nomination day for the Presidential election is September 13, followed by polling day on September 23.

According to the report, when the office of President is vacant, the first in line to exercise its powers is the CPA Chairman, followed by the Speaker of Parliament. This is the first time the office has fallen vacant since the elected presidency was introduced in 1991.

Pillay is no stranger to exercising the powers of the President. As CPA Chairman since 2005, he has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip. He acted as President in May, when Tan made state visits to Europe.

He has served more than 60 such “stints”– the longest of which was 16 days in April and May of 2007 when then President SR Nathan visited Africa. (IANS)


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Indian-Origin CEO Ravin Gandhi Faces Racism in The US for Criticising Trump After Charlottesville racial violence

Ravin Gandhi posted a voicemail from an alleged Trump supporter on the social media along with the nastier emails he received

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Racism, Ravin Gandhi
Indian-Origin CEO Ravin Gandhi faces racism in the US. Pixabay
  • An Indian origin CEO says he was racially abused and was told to “go back” to India
  • He refused to defend US President Donald Trump’s economic agenda following the racial violence in Virginia
  • He said he will speak out against such abuse as long as he has a platform to do so

Washington, August 24, 2017: An Indian origin CEO says he was racially abused and was told to “go back” to India and also take along top Indian-American diplomat Nikki Haley after he refused to defend US President Donald Trump’s economic agenda following the racial violence in Virginia.

Ravin Gandhi, founder, and CEO of GMM Nonstick Coatings, a global supplier of coatings for cookware and bakeware, penned an op-ed for CNBC following the Charlottesville racial violence but in response was slammed and racially abused by readers, the Chicago Tribune reported.

 At least one woman was killed and dozens were injured in Charlottesville last week during clashes between white supremacists and counter-protestors at a rally. Trump, instead of blaming white supremacists, held both sides responsible for the violence and was criticised by both Democrats and Republicans for the response.

“I recently told the New York Times I was ‘rooting’ for certain aspects of Trump’s economic agenda,” Gandhi, 44, wrote in the article.

ALSO READNazi Protests in American Soil and Obsession with Jews: “Unite the Right” Rally in Charlottesville (US) suffuses with Anti-Semitism and Anti-Black Racism Logic

“After Charlottesville and its aftermath, I will not defend Trump even if the Dow hits 50,000, unemployment goes to 1 per cent, and GDP grows by 7 per cent… I will not in good conscience support a President who seems to hate Americans who don’t look like him.

“The fact that Trump equated hate groups with those protesting hate lit me up,” Gandhi said. “His moral leadership on this issue is reprehensible.”

US-born Gandhi, after his op-ed was published, received a voicemail from an alleged Trump supporter, who told him to “get your (expletive) garbage and go back to India”.

“You can take that other half-(expletive) Bangladesh creep with you, Nikki Haley,” the woman said in the message.

“She’s the one that started all this when she took down the Confederate flag. So don’t tell us that you gave him a chance. We don’t give an (expletive) who you gave a chance, OK? We’re going to start taking down Buddhist statues and see how you and Nikki Haley like that.”

The caller told Gandhi to “go clean up your own (expletive) country, it’s a filthy mess”.

He soon posted the voicemail on the social media and also shared the nastier emails he received, the report said.

“It was obvious that people thought my professional position somewhat protected me,” he said. “I wanted to show people that racism is blind to socioeconomics.

“Even though my race is a complete non-issue in my day-to-day life, the sad reality is there’s a group of racists in the USA that views me as a second-class citizen,” he said.

“I wanted my peers in the business community, the civic community, my friend community to see that this can happen to me. Because there’s this delusion that racism is dead because (Barack) Obama was elected (President),” Gandhi said.

He said while his sharing a “bigoted” voicemail may not make a big difference, he will speak out against such abuse as long as he has a platform to do so. (IANS)

 

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Tired of Taking Antibiotics? Sugars in Breast Milk May Protect You Against Bacterial Infections, Says New Study

According to the data by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes about 23,000 deaths annually

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Breast milk is believed to be the healthiest nutrition
Feeding your baby breast mil for the first 6 months is recommended for the nutritional benefits it provides. Pixabay
  • Bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes more about 23,000 deaths annually.
  • Breast milk helps newborns fight bacterial infections
  • Researchers discover natural sugars that can reduce human dependence on antibiotics

Washington DC, August 22, 2017 : Newborns and infants are highly susceptible to bacterial infections and diseases. In the face of medical challenges, young mothers tend to look for remedies that cater to the problem with the least possible side-effects. In a latest study by a Washington DC University, it has been revealed that the mother’s milk consists of a unique blend of fats, proteins, and sugars that help protect babies against bacterial infection.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, mother’s milk is supposed to be the only nutrition for a newborn for the first six months.

Breastfeeding is one of the key phases to nurture a newborn. Combined with antibodies and nutrients, the practice is not only beneficial to the baby but for the mothers as well.

Breast milk addresses a multitude of problems and diseases in children,

  • Lowers risk of allergies and asthma
  • Reduces respiratory illnesses and chances of diarrhea.

Apart from these, researches have not revealed that it also helps babies fight against bacterial infections.

ALSO READ: What Mothers are Complaining about this World Breastfeeding Week 2017

An interdisciplinary team of doctors and chemists at the Vanderbilt University have discovered that carbohydrates in a mother’s milk possess a complex blend of antibacterial properties. Additionally, the research also revealed that apart from their own qualities, the presence of these carbohydrates also enhances the efficacy of antibacterial proteins present in the milk.

Calling it an example of a comprehensive antimicrobial action by the carbohydrates present in the mother’s milk,  according to Steven Townsend, the director of the study, “One of the remarkable properties of these compounds is that they are clearly non-toxic, unlike most antibiotics”, as per a report by ANI.

According to the data by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, bacterial resistance to antibiotics causes about 23,000 deaths annually.

Additionally researchers asserted that pregnant women are the most common hosts to group B strep bacteria, which cause severe infections in newborns. These infections often lead to pneumonia or sepsis, and in extreme cases death due to the absence of properly developed defense mechanisms in newborns.

However, group B strep bacteria rarely infect babies.

This motivated the researches to undertake a research to address the growing number of deaths and to probe whether the mother’s milk contains specific protective compounds that fight these bacteria in babies.

Previously, it was believed by biochemists that proteins are the most important followed by carbohydrates. “Far less is known about the function of sugars, and as a trained glycoprotein chemist, I wanted to explore their role,” asserted Townsend.

The Research

For the research, the carbohydrate in human milk, also known as oligosaccharides, was collected from different donor samples. The samples were then summarized with a mass spectrometry technique that is used to identify large biomolecules. The obtained compound was then added to strep cultures which were then observed using a microscope.

The study showed that the sugars found in breast milk in such cases can act as anti-biofilms agents. To put it simply, the researchers observed that the sugars not only sensitized the target bacteria but also killed them. Some of the oligosaccharides directly fought the infecting bacteria. Additionally the carbohydrate compounds also broke down the biofilms that the bacteria form to protect themselves.

ALSO READ: World Antibiotic Awareness Week 2016 Focuses on Using Antibiotics with Care

It ha been revealed that these powerful sugars can potentially become part of an antibacterial treatment for adults and infants alike, thus reducing our dependence on artificially produced antibiotics.

This study has been published and is now a part of the ACS Infectious Diseases journal.


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