06 May 2010
By Rajiv Mani
In yet another step to combat the dreaded disease AIDS, scientists from Allahabad University have joined hands with Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Lubeck, Germany to develop a new drug to fight against AIDS. A collaborative research would be undertaken by the renowned scientist from the University and their counterparts from AU.
The research would be initiated by professor Bechan Sharma, department of biochemistry, AU and prof Tobias Restle, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Lubeck, Germany. The research work would be conducted for period of two months starting from mid May. Prof Sharma, while talking to TOI gave a detailed information about the research. He said, “ The joint efforts would be focused on investigating the new anti HIV–1 drug which has the potential to terminate the replication of the dreaded virus.
Simultaneously, their joint endeavour would explore the molecular intricacies involved in the HIV–1 RT, the key enzyme responsible for generation of mutations in HIV–1 genome. The outcome of the research would enable the development of safe and cost effective anti HIV–1 drugs.Prof Sharma said that the existing drugs have certain shortcomings including high costs, side effects and toxicity that develop after prolonged usage of the drugs. As soon as the structural changes in the virus are identified, an effective antidote could be developed as precise understanding of the behaviour of the virus. This would enhance the future preparation of the drug.
Detailing further about various interesting facts pertaining to this dreaded disease, Prof Sharma said that AIDS continues to spread unchecked since its first documentation in 1981.
Two decades later, nearly 50 million individuals are living with HIV/AIDS world wide and approximately 25 million had died, according to figures released by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO). India shares 10 per cent of global HIV burden and 65 per cent of South–East Asian population. It is reported that 5.2 million HIV infections exist in India. The national HIV prevalence was between 0.4 and 1.3 percent HIV–1 in 2003.