Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing 23 May 2018 Silver lining amidst ...

Silver lining amidst the clouds

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | CHARUNAYAN KAMATH R
Published May 23, 2018, 2:13 am IST
Updated May 23, 2018, 2:13 am IST
The first reported case of NIPAH infection was in Australia in 1994 .
Doctors and other staff in the casuality wing of the Ernakulam General Hospital wearing protective devices as a precautionary step in the wake of detection of Nipah virus in Kerala, on Tuesday. (Photo: SUNOJ NINAN MATHEW)
 Doctors and other staff in the casuality wing of the Ernakulam General Hospital wearing protective devices as a precautionary step in the wake of detection of Nipah virus in Kerala, on Tuesday. (Photo: SUNOJ NINAN MATHEW)

Kerala is becoming a capital of viral diseases. Bird flu, swine flu, monkey fever, dengue fever, hepatitis c, chikun guniya etc are some of the viral threats that has affected Keralaites. Niv or the NIPAH infection is a paramyxoviral disease which was recognized as the etiologic operator of an episode of serious encephalitis (brain inflamation) in individuals who came in close contact with pigs in Malaysia and Singapore. The first reported case of NIPAH infection was in Australia in 1994 . Everything began when the infection broke the species barrier and discovered a new host (humans).

This infection usually transmits from fruit bats which is the the predominant host and other domesticated animals like cats,dogs,goats and so forth, so it isn’t insightful to eat fruits which have interacted with urine, salivation, blood, faeces and birthing liquids of bats and different animals. There have been 10 revealed instances of death because of this infection in Kozhikode, since there is no cure or antibody for this infection it is best not to gain it in any case. After introduction and a brooding time of 5 to 14 days,the illness presents as 3-14 days of fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and mental confusion. These signs and symptoms can progress to coma within 24-48 hours.The long haul result of this infection are convulsions and personality changes.If a man influenced with this infection is given serious help then he have 50 % short of surviving.

 

A virus is not like a bacteria it can evolve fast and can develop resistance to drugs faster than bacteria. However not all hope is lost. Researchers in Imperial college of London have developed a molecule that can combat common cold . We have a misconception that common cold is caused by bacteria but it is not it is caused by a family of viruses. Proffessor Ed Tate the lead researcher of his team who developed a molecule which can combat common cold, the molecule targets N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), a protein in human cells. Viruses 'hijack' NMT from human cells to construct the protein 'shell', or capsid, which protects the virus genome. The molecule targets a human protein and not the virus itself, making emergence of resistant viruses highly unlikely.So if we can come up with a similar molecule which can 'hijack' the F (fusion)protein receptor in NiV we may have a chance to fight this deadly disease.

The present outbreak from fruit bats is due to the encroaching of these winged mammals to the human habitats in search of food. Their natural habitats are forests, which are thinning day by dy due to the felling of trees citing several flimsy reasons. Such animals enter house holds in search of food to supplement their nutritional loss. It is high time that we realised this hazard, and immediate steps to be taken to protect the remaining forests and plant as many trees in forest areas to increase the tree cover. The first inhabitants of the earth are microorganisms. They originated over 350 billion years ago and have initiated the formation of multicellular organisms.

Controversy over whether or not the virus is alive. They are located between organic and inorganic material. They are dependent on other types of cell linesand are absolutely inactive outside cells. They are seen in in soil, air and water. In the inactive stage viruses can survive for decades. These are enabled only when compatible hosts appear. They can be found in many forms. Viruses will attack microorganisms, plants and high species. There are a variety of viruses behind serious illnesses on Earth. Examples include influenza, HIV, smallpox, papilloma which causes cervical cancer etc. As the weather in the earth changes, new viruses spread. Viruses depend on the cells of other organisms for propagation. The adivasis of Kerala are immune to such diseases because their diet include plant derivatives that offer immunity to such viral infections. The government to initate programs in war footing to study viral infections in animals so that we may be prepared for any disease since we don't know when this type of deadly diseases cross the species barrier.

(The author is a Biotechnology researcher from Vellore institute of technology.)

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Location: India, Kerala




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