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Remdesivir, the most powerful drug against Covid-19, just stops the virus from replicating. Pixabay

A team of researchers has identified the most toxic proteins made by SARS-COV-2 — the virus that causes Covid-19 — and then used an FDA-approved cancer drug to blunt the viral protein’s detrimental effects.

In their experiments in fruit flies and human cell lines, the team discovered the cell process that the virus hijacks, illuminating new potential candidate drugs that could be tested for treating severe Covid-19 disease patients.


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“Our work suggests there is a way to prevent SARS-COV-2 from injuring the body’s tissues and doing extensive damage,” said researcher Zhe “Zion” Han from the University of Maryland.


Orf6 was discovered to be the most toxic, killing about half of the human cells. Pixabay

The researcher notes that the most effective drug against Covid-19, remdesivir, only prevents the virus from making more copies of itself, but it does not protect already infected cells from damage caused by the viral proteins.

SARS-COV-2 infects cells and hijacks them into making proteins from each of its 27 genes.

For the study, published in the journal in Cell & Bioscience, the team introduced each of these 27 SARS-CoV-2 genes in human cells and examined their toxicity. They also generated 12 fruit fly lines to express SARS-CoV-2 proteins likely to cause toxicity based on their structure and predicted function.

The researchers found that a viral protein, known as Orf6, was the most toxic killing about half of the human cells.

For the remaining experiments, the researchers focused on just the most toxic viral protein, so they could figure out what cell process the virus hijacks during infection.


The cancer drug selinexor works by blocking one of these virus-targeted human moving proteins. Pixabay

The team found that the virus’s toxic Orf6 protein sticks to multiple human proteins that have the job of moving materials out of the cell’s nucleus — the place in the cell that holds the genome, or the instructions for life.

ALSO READ: Research: Stressed Brain Related To Broken Heart Syndrome

They then discovered that one of these human moving proteins, targeted by the virus, gets blocked by the cancer drug selinexor. The researchers tested selinexor on human cells and fruit flies making the toxic viral protein to see if the drug could help reverse the damage.

Selinexor, like many cancer drugs, is itself toxic. However, after accounting for its toxic effects, the drug improved human cell survival by about 12 percent. (IANS/KB)


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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India. Speaking at an event to celebrate DRI's 64th foundation day, Sitharaman lauded DRI's compact strength of about 800 officers for their relentless efforts despite the imminent risks. The Finance Minister stated that the officers may be keeping a low profile, but they are acting like the frontline defence forces, doing spectacular work in safeguarding the economic frontiers of the country. "The recent smuggling attempts of huge quantities of narcotics, gold, red sanders, ivory, cigarettes etc. unearthed by DRI were appreciated by the Finance Minister," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

"Sitharaman said that the message through such enforcement actions should be such that these acts of brazen attempts at smuggling are nipped in the bud," the statement added. The Finance Minister also said that better coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies and sharing of actionable intelligence are the way forward in protecting the frontiers of the country more efficiently. "Sitharaman also asked the DRI to focus on interdicting dual use technology items as well as preventing the dumping of toxic wastes in our country," the statement said. (IANS/ MBI)


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Photo by Brandon Romanchuk on Unsplash

Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features.

Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features. Alexa can now identify the sounds of running water and appliances beeping, reports Android Central. This means users can set up an Alexa routine to notify themselves when the washer beeps to indicate that laundry is finished, the report said.

When Alexa detects that the faucet has been left open, it will send users a notification as well so they can take appropriate action, it added. Amazon previously said at its event in September that it would add the ability to programme Alexa to recognise custom sounds, but that feature has yet to arrive. Having said that, the two new sound detection capabilities not only help users save energy, but they also make it easier to avoid paying for unnecessary charges on your home utilities, the report said.

The retail giant has also announced ultrasound motion detection, which will allow you to set up "Occupancy Routines" on additional Echo devices. This feature allows your smart speaker to detect nearby motion and initiate a routine, such as turning on the lights. It is compatible with many of the best Alexa speakers including the 4th-gen Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock. (IANS/ MBI)


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Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit.

By Olivia Sarkar
It's the holiday season, which means it's time to be merry! As the month of December approaches, we're all in a festive mindset. With Christmas just around the corner, there will be plenty of parties and get-togethers with friends and family.

Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit. The Leela Palaces, Hotels, and Resorts offer distinctive cocktails ranging from Hot Toddies to Decadent Egg Nogs. Sit back and enjoy one martini at a time to make the festive season a little brighter.

Dirty Chai Eggnog:

Eggnog is a Christmas favorite that is accustomed to toasts for good health and prosperity. It is an American tradition that has spread around the world. Historically, it has been made using eggs, milk, and alcohol. Our culinary artists have given an Indian twist to this winter drink, making it quintessentially desi!



Recipe:

30 ml Bourbon
30 ml Baileys
90 ml Hot milk tea
Whole Spices
Sweet cream foam to top up

Garnish:
Cinnamon powder and star anise.

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