VISAKHAPATNAM: Inadequate diagnostics and ineffective BCG vaccine are leading to increased cases of tuberculosis infection across the world, said National Centre for Cell Science (Pune) director Shekhar C Mande at GITAM University here. He inaugurated the Science Academies’ lecture workshop here Friday at GITAM Institute of Science, organised by the department of Biotechnology.
Addressing the students, Shekhar said that mycobacterium tuberculosis was a serious health concern around the world because there was no new drug launched in the last three decades. He mentioned that co-infection with HIV was another problem for TB control. He said that if the TB patients were not treated they would infect 15 other people per annum.
“We have been trying to understand how M tuberculosis adapts itself to different conditions because it adapts itself to various environmental conditions, including different oxygen levels. My research team is finding new methods to determine structures of proteins involved in these processes and the results may help to handle the disease in a better way,” Shekhar said. He also shared his research findings on sickle cell anaemia which is high in a few communities.
University of Hyderabad’s School of Life Sciences researcher Sharmistha Banerjee delivered a lecture on ‘How HIV exploits host cell machinery’. She mentioned that most of the anti-retrovirals that were presently used for HIV treatment primarily target viral proteins but instead of curing the disease, the treatment process helps the HIV to develop resistance to these drugs because HIV rapidly mutates its proteins. An emerging thought was to identify host proteins that were utilised by HIV for its own survival, and pathogenesis that can improve the potency of anti-retroviral treatments, she added. She said that efforts were being made to understand global HIV human protein-protein interactions.
GITAM University vice-chancellor G Subrahmanyam released the abstracts of the workshop and appreciated the scientists for their research work to help the people. GITAM Institute of Science principal N Lakshmana Das, Biotechnology HoD Rajagopal and others were present.