Diseases Current Affairs

25 April: World Malaria Day

The World Malaria Day (WMD) is being observed every year on 25 April across the world to recognise the global efforts to control preventable vector borne disease malaria. It also seeks to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for elimination and control of malaria.

The theme of 2018 WMD is “Ready to beat malaria“. The theme marks mportance of collective responsibility and commitment of global community in bringing together people on working towards making world free of malaria. It also puts exemplary progress achieved in tackling malaria under spotlight.

Background

The World Malaria Day (WMD) was established by the 60th session of World Health Assembly, a decision-making body of World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2007. It was established to provide understanding and education of malaria and also spread information on year-long intensified implementation of national malaria-control strategies. It is one of eight official global public health campaigns currently marked by the WHO.

Malaria

Malaria is mosquito-borne infectious disease most commonly transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquito. It caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to Plasmodium type. After an infected mosquito bites human, parasites begin to multiply in person’s liver. It progresses to infect and destroy red blood cells (RBCs) in the body. Common symptoms of severe malaria include flu, fever and chills respiratory distress and deep breathing, abnormal bleeding, signs of anaemia and impaired consciousness. Malaria can be controlled by early diagnosis.

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Researchers develop potent molecule to treat chikungunya

Researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee have identified two small potent molecules Pep-I and Pep-II, for their inhibitory activity to treat Chikungunya disease. The antiviral activity of these molecules was so high that their small amount was able to achieve almost 99% reduction in virus. Currently, there are no drugs to treat chikungunya or any vaccine to prevent it.

Key Facts

The antiviral activity was tested by adding molecules directly into virus culture. Using structure-based studies of chikungunya virus-specific nsP2 protease, researchers had identified two small molecules Pep-I and Pep-II for their inhibitory activity against vector borne disease.

Protease inhibitors have already been used successfully against HIV and hepatitis C virus. Pep-I, one of two molecules has superior antiviral activity against chikungunya virus. It was found to effectively bind to protein of virus (nsP2 protease) and prevent virus from replicating. It is hypothesised that any molecule that inhibits nsP2 protease is having antiviral activity.

During studies it was confirmed that both molecules have significant ability to kill virus. Pep-I molecule was very efficient in killing the virus, 99% reduction in virus at 5 microMolar and Pep-II molecule showed reduced antiviral activity of only 50% even at a higher concentration of about 200 microMolar. The two molecules also reduced viral RNA thus confirming the antiviral activity.

Chikungunya

Chikungunya is a mosquito-borne virus that causes a disease. It is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Its symptoms are characterised by abrupt fever and severe joint pain, often in hands and feet, and may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.

There is no specific antiviral drug treatment for chikungunya. There is no commercial vaccine to treat chikungunya. Chikungunya treatment is directed primarily at relieving the symptoms, including the joint pain using anti-pyretics, optimal analgesics and fluids.

 

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