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Amino acids hold key to new therapy for sinus infections

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sinus infection

New York, Sep 9: Researchers have found that besides glucose and other sugars, certain amino acids secreted by bacteria can also activate sweet taste receptors, and finding a way to block these receptors may lead to a new therapy to fight off chronic sinus infection.

Bitter taste receptors in the upper airway are a first line of defence against sinus infections, but their ability to kill harmful toxins and pathogens is blocked when the sweet taste receptors are also stimulated.

Bitter receptors release small proteins called antimicrobial peptides which kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi that enter the nose, while sweet receptors — normally activated by sugar found in mucus — control the rate at which those peptides are released.

When the body is healthy, this system maintains the status quo. But when pathogens, toxins, and allergens get into the upper respiratory tract, it throws off the balance.

This new study, published in the journal Science Signaling, showed that the sweet taste receptor, known as T1R, can also be activated by certain amino acids secreted by bacteria.

Researchers took cells from patients suffering from rhinosinusitis – clinical name for chronic sinus infections — and isolated the various communities of bacteria that were present. 

They found cultures of Staphylococcus bacteria produced two D-amino acids called D-Phe and D-Leu, both of which activate T1R sweet receptors and block the release of antimicrobial peptides.

“These amino acids, which come from Staphylococcus bacteria, block the body’s natural immune response by essentially hitting the breaks on the defensive bitter taste receptors,” said the study’s senior author Noam Cohen, Associate Professor at Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania.

The researchers also found that the two D-amino acids, combined with Staphylococcus, prevented the formation of other bacteria colonies.

In addition to showing the importance of sweet and bitter taste receptors in shaping the microbial communities that exist in the human airway, this could also lead to specific therapies to treat chronic sinus infections, the researchers said.

“Specifically, in the future, sweet-receptor blockers, which are known and used in some food and supplement products, may be useful to block activation of T1R, which would allow the body’s normal defences to work properly, even when high concentrations of D-amino acids are present,” said lead author Robert Lee, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Disaster

Coronavirus crisis may get ‘worse and worse and worse’, warns WHO

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus WHO

GENEVA : The raging coronavirus pandemic has the potential to get far worse if all nations do not adhere to basic healthcare precautions, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday.

“Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction, the virus remains public enemy number one,” Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva.

“If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go, it is going to get worse and worse and worse. But it does not have to be this way.”

Infections rose above 13 million across the world on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, climbing by one million in just five days in a pandemic that has killed more than half a million people.

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Cities

Doctor who managed Goa’s only Covid hospital tests positive

The state currently has more than 900 active Covid-19 cases, with 17 fatalities linked to coronavirus.

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Dr Gomes

Panaji, July 13 : Dr. Edwin Gomes, who had emerged as the face of Goa”s Covid-19 treatment and care effort, and had served as the in-charge of medication of patients at the state’s only designated Covid-19 hospital, has tested positive for the viral infection, a government spokesperson said.

“Dr. Gomes has been admitted to a state government facility for doctors infected by coronavirus,” the spokesperson said.

Gomes, 58, is also the head of medicine at the state”s only medical college, the Goa Medical College, and had last week ended his unbroken 98-day shift at the designated Covid-19 hospital.

The state currently has more than 900 active Covid-19 cases, with 17 fatalities linked to coronavirus.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that “four to five” Covid-19 patients who died, were suffering from cancer. “Eight to 10 patients were above the age of 80 years, while one also died of liver failure. The death rate has increased due to co-morbid conditions,” Sawant told reporters at the State Secretariat.

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Disaster

Glenmark cuts Fabiflu price by 27%

On June 20, Glenmark announced that it received manufacturing and marketing approval from India”s drug regulator for FabiFlu, making it the first oral Favipiravir-approved medication in India for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19.

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Glenmark Fabiflu

New Delhi, July 13 : Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has announced that it has commenced a Post Marketing Surveillance (PMS) study on FabiFlu to closely monitor the efficacy and safety of the drug in 1000 Covid patients that are prescribed with the oral antiviral.

Further, Glenmark has announced a price reduction of 27 per cent for FabiFlu. The new MRP is Rs 75 per tab from the earlier Rs 103 per tab.

The price reduction has been made possible through benefits gained from higher yields and better scale, as both the API and formulations are made at Glenmark”s facilities in India, the benefits of which are being passed on to patients in the country.

Glenmark has successfully developed the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and the formulation for FabiFlu through its own in-house R&D team within the country, ensuring self-reliance with regard to long term production and manufacturing.

Commenting on these developments, Alok Malik, Senior Vice President & Head – India business, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals said, “We expect this post marketing surveillance study to shed more light on the drug”s clinical effectiveness and safety in a large cohort of patients prescribed FabiFlu. Our priority from the start of this pandemic has been to offer patients in India an effective treatment for COVID-19, while also ensuring accessibility to the masses.

“Our internal research shows us that we launched FabiFlu in India at the lowest market cost as compared to the cost of Favipiravir in other countries where it is approved. And now we hope that this further price reduction will make it even more accessible for patients across the country.”

Despite investing significantly in R&D, clinical trials and the manufacturing of FabiFlu (API and formulations), Glenmark has managed to keep the pricing of FabiFlu lower as compared to its price in other countries.

FabiFlu in India was originally launched at Rs 103 per tablet, while, its price in Indian Rupees is higher in the remaining countries like Rs 600 in Russia, Rs 378 in Japan, Rs 350 in Bangladesh and Rs 215 in China.

On June 20, Glenmark announced that it received manufacturing and marketing approval from India”s drug regulator for FabiFlu, making it the first oral Favipiravir-approved medication in India for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19.

The manufacturing and marketing approval was granted as part of accelerated approval process, considering the emergency situation of the COVID-19 outbreak in India. The approval”s restricted use entails responsible medication use where every patient must have signed informed consent before treatment initiation.

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