Niper gets Indo-EU project for TB research

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Mohali, Oct 24 (UNI) A prestigious Indo-European Union FP7 research project has been awarded to the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali.

The research project 'New Approaches to Target Tuberculosis' primarily aims at the discovery of new anti-tuberculosis drugs, especially for those tuberculosis (TB) causing bacteria which are resistant to commonly used anti-TB drugs, says Prof Prati Pal Singh, the investigator-in-charge of the project.

The project has been funded in collaboration with five European laboratories.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB, has been reported in 9,000 year old skeletons. Nearly one-third of the world's population carries TB bacilli, and one in ten of these people will develop TB. TB kills 1.6 million people per year, 4,400 people per day and every twenty seconds one person dies of TB.

Multi-drug resistant strains of M tuberculosis are now prevalent in more than 90 countries and regions of the world. The problem of drug resistance in TB is compounded with the emergence of extensively drug-resistant TB that is virtually untreatable.

''TB is curable, however, the lengthy treatment is very difficult and at times not available. Almost all the anti-TB drugs were discovered more than fifty years ago and no new drug has become available in last thirty years. Without the discovery of new faster-acting, safe, simpler and affordable drugs, the TB situation may turn from bad to worse,'' he said.

NIPER has identified TB new drug discovery research as a thrust area, and has discovered and patented several new anti-TB molecules.

Some basic innate immune mechanisms have also been studied and published which will go a long way in treating the most complicated latent stages of TB bacilli. Additionally, an entirely different class of drugs, an opiate, has been found to treat TB in animals, he informed.

With the massive funding from this Indo-EU project, TB researches will get a major boost at NIPER. The project will be highly instrumental in the internationalization of NIPER and its important research contributions, Mr Singh added.

UNI PS MP BD2115

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