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Breaththrough in malaria control

Malaria continues to be a dreaded killer disease. In 2012 it was estimated to have infected 207 millions across the world and over 6.27 lakh people were killed; children under the age of five accounted for 4/5th of deaths.

Dr G Padmanabhan, renowned biochemist and biotechnologist and a former, Director of Indian Institute of Science recipient of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prize and a Padma Bhushan referred to the work done by the IISc team an malaria control. GP's  research on heme-biosynthetic pathway in the malarial parasite showed it to be a drug target. Arte ether or its derivatives are standard drug for treatment of malaria. WHO accorded recognition of arte ether along with the re-combination of curcumin, a derivate of turmeric. Tested on animals for cerebral malaria, this molecule was found to cure 100 per cent. We are about to launch clinical testing of this drug on humans. Permission from the Drug Controller is awaited, said GP. He mentioned the interest of the SAIL Hospital in Rourkela to pursue this.

GP took his Masters in soil chemistry at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute and PhD in Biochemistry at IISc. He has been an ardent advocate of research in genetically modified seeds for achieving quantum jumps in food production.

In his recent address at the Lok Sabha Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to his interactions with researchers in Japan on stem cell technology and to its potential to provide relief to millions of poor needing relief in India. Developed countries have been focusing medical research on morbidities common to them. Malaria is not one of these. In the light of its vast incidence it is imperative to speed up research on this. This should be aided by streamlining clinical trial procedures.

 

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