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Spanish scientists discover novobiocin compound as anti-Zika drug

Researchers San Antonio Catholic University of Murcia, Spain have discovered novobiocin compound that could be used as a potential drug to fight the effects of a Zika virus infection.

The novobiocin molecule (compound) was previously used in antibiotic drug to fend off “nosocomial” infections (those acquired inside a hospital). However, the drug was withdrawn from the market because it had lost its potency as an antibiotic.

Novobiocin compound

Researchers have found that this compound can counter the symptoms of the mosquito-borne Zika disease. It has shown phenomenal recovery results in mice with 100-percent cure rate. However, researchers are still figuring out the exact dose needed for humans to achieve the same successful outcome. They also have patented the molecule for anti-Zika treatment.

About Zika virus

Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that transmits dengue. It is also found that, sexual transmission of Zika virus disease is possible. The Zika virus has been named after Zika forest in Uganda where it was first isolated in 1947.

The Zika disease had seen swift expansion between early 2015 and January 2016 throughout South America and Caribbean where babies with abnormally smaller heads due to Microcephaly were born. World Health Organization (WHO) had declared the disease as epidemic and global health emergency but later revoked it after the outbreak was brought under control.

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Castor plant can reduce soil pollution: Study

According to study conducted by researchers from University of Hyderabad, Castor bean plants can prove useful in fighting soil pollution. It was found that these plants can absorb toxic heavy metals from soil from these polluted areas due to industrial pollution.

The roots, leaves and stem of these plants from the polluted areas contain heavy metals such as lead. It was also observed that these plants accelerate the remediation of polluted soils due to presence of some chemicals in them known as chelators which enhances the capability of the plant to accumulate heavy metals.

Key Facts

Castor seed plants are generally known to be one of the sturdiest plants that can grow in areas where the soil is highly polluted, including in areas where mining is carried out. Traditionally, Castor oil (also known as ‘Arandi ka tel’ in Hindi) has been an age old home remedy for a variety of ailments in India.

Significance

This study highlights how castor plants which are having medical properties can also prove a boon in remediation in soil pollution. Government bodies can take a cue out of this study for natural remediation of soil pollution.

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