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Showing posts from April 25, 2017

India wants to be TB-free by 2025, but patients suffer due to stigma, lack of counselling (downtoearth, )

Yasmeen (name changed) was freshly out of teens when her marriage was fixed with Shameem—a tall and handsome boy, just like she had imagined for herself. Elated and excited, the twenty-one year old left her hometown Pataudi in Haryana and came to Tughlakabad village in Delhi. She was married for only three months when her health started deteriorating. One day she found blood in her vomit and within two days she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Yasmeen thought life was crumbling around her and although the doctor told her that TB was curable, the stigma and the fear weakened her resolve day by day.

“I used to be either angry or sad. I started blaming my marriage to be ill-fated. My mother-in-law’s taunts added insult to injury and I went back to my parents’ house,” recalls Yasmeen. Women in India experience considerable TB-related social disqualification and feelings of rejection, which result in psychological, social and emotional distress, said a 2008 study published in the Internat…

IISc team unravels how vitamin C helps kill bacteria (downtoearth,)

Vitamin C inhibits the synthesis of a molecule essential for bacteria survival

That vitamin C, an anti-oxidant agent, boosts and strengthens immunity is well known. Its ability to speed-up recovery from tuberculosis and impede the TB causing bacteria from causing disease, and even kill the bacteria in culture at high concentration are also known. Now, a study by a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru has found the molecular mechanism by which vitamin C impedes and even kills Mycobacterium smegmatis, a non-pathogenic bacterium that belongs to the same genus as the TB-causing mycobacteria. The results were published in the journal FEMS Microbiology Letters.

Stress response

During times of stress or hostile conditions, such as increased temperature and presence of antibiotics, bacteria tend to come together and form a biofilm to protect themselves. The stress response pathway is crucial for bacteria to survive during hostile conditions. So blocking th…

India and China will outdo USA in renewable energy (downtoearth)

Renewable energy (RE) is the biggest mitigation tool to combat climate change and limit average global temperature rise to below 2°C, as targeted in the Paris Agreement. Countries have also included RE development in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

The transition to renewable is led by three countries—India, China and United States of America—that together account for 50 per cent of emissions from energy sector (See Table 1). A report by Allianz Climate and Energy Monitor called “Deep Dive”, says “Investments in electricity supply in China and the US need to roughly double, in India even triple over the next decades to have a fair chance to remain ‘well below 2°C’ warming boundary set in the Paris Agreement.”

But the three countries appear to be adopting three very different policy approaches to renewable energy. In India and China, policies are favourable for renewables, driven not only by climate action, but other reasons as well. The new administration …

What Africa still needs to do to eliminate malaria (downtoearth,)

Malaria is one of the oldest and deadliest infectious diseases affecting man. It is an ancient and modern disease – descriptions of illnesses similar to malaria are found in ancient texts from China, India, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. The Conversation

Malaria parasites have co-evolved – which involves genetic changes and adaptation – with people as their hosts over a period of four thousand years.

After the Second World War, the Global Malaria Eradication Programme was intensified by the discovery of DDT, a powerful pesticide. The campaign partially reduced the malaria transmission cycle and infection rates within a short time.

The US eradicated malaria by 1951 but in Latin and South America pockets recurred two decades later.

Today malaria has been eliminated in 26 other countries including Cuba, Italy and Japan. About 65 countries are planning to eradicate the disease between 2020 and 2030.

Africa carries a disproportionately high burden of malaria cases. In 2015 214 millio…

World’s first malaria vaccine will be tested in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi (downtoearth,)

The world’s first malaria vaccine will be tested on people from three African countries—Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. On April 24, the World Health Organization announced that these three countries have been chosen to test the malaria vaccine. In 2016, Down To Earth had reported that the world’s first malaria vaccine will be rolled out in sub-Saharan Africa. This part of the continent is hardest hit.

Malaria remains a major health challenge, infecting more than 200 million people every year and killing about half a million. Children in Africa are the most vulnerable. In 2015, 88 per cent of global cases and 90 per cent of global deaths occurred in Africa.

Percentage fo malaria deaths occurring in children in Africa. Credit: Peter W. Gething, et al./ New England Journal of Medicine
Percentage fo malaria deaths occurring in children in Africa. Credit: Peter W. Gething, et al./ New England Journal of Medicine

The three countries will begin piloting the injectable vaccine in 2018.

The vaccine…