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Haldi-derived curcumin can help in nano-based drug delivery

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Mandi, April 2 : Researchers from Indian Institute of Technology Mandi (IIT-M) and Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Kolkata have developed a new route by which curcumin, the medicinal chemical present in turmeric, can be incorporated into drug nanoformulations.

Turmeric has been used as a food item in India for centuries, not merely as a condiment but also as a medicinal material.

Curcumin, a low-molecular-weight compound present in turmeric, has been reported to be the active medicinal principle because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative (tending to inhibit cell growth) and antiangiogenic (refers to pertaining to a substance that reduces the growth of new blood vessels needed by tumours) properties.

Thus, curcumin is considered a potential drug for a variety of illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular problems and neurodegenerative disorders, the researchers said in the study, published in the international journal Crystal Growth & Design.

“Our research shows that curcumin can indeed be incorporated into stable drug formulations for better therapeutic efficacy,” said Dr Prem Felix Siril, Principal Investigator of the research and Associate Professor, School of Basic Sciences, IIT Mandi.

According to the study, despite the promise and the extensive use of turmeric in alternative and lifestyle therapies, the development of mainstream drugs based on curcumin has been hindered by a few problems.

Curcumin, in its natural form, is insoluble in water, which makes it less bioavailable and hence difficult for the drug to reach the tissues and cells in which they are needed.

Furthermore, free curcumin is unstable; it is susceptible to fragmentation with time, especially in a neutral medium. This leads to loss of efficacy of the drug.

“Curcumin, in its natural crystalline form, is poorly soluble in water”, Dr Siri explained.

To overcome this, the IIT Mandi team combined two approaches.

The researchers used Indomethacin, a well-known nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to precipitate along with curcumin in order to stabilize it in amorphous form. The combination is expected to have the therapeutic benefits of both curcumin as well as Indomethacin.

Additionally, they coated each tiny particle (nanoparticle) of co-amorphous curcumin and indomethacin with a natural polymer called chitosan, which is extracted from shells of shrimps and other crustaceans.

The chitosan generate a hydrophobic (water repellent) covering around curcumin nanoparticles and prevent it from sticking to each other and forming crystals.

“These two approaches improve two major problems ‘aqueous stability and solubility’ of curcumin and introduce an additional pH (Potential of Hydrogen) responsive release behaviour to the formulation,” the researchers wrote.

This is expected to increase the chances of direct nanoparticle absorption through the intestine after oral intake and safe delivery of curcumin to the required site with minimal aqueous exposure, the researchers added.

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Disaster

India records highest single-day spike, surpasses China toll

India is currently in the fourth phase of lockdown which is till May 31. Cases spiked at record rate during the lockdown 4.0 that allowed much relaxation.

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New Delhi, May 29 : India on Friday not only recorded its largest jump in new cases as it added 7,466 new Covid patients in 24 hours, emerging as the ninth worst-hit country in the world by pandemic, but it also surpassed China’s toll of 4,638 so far as it recorded 4,706 deaths.

While China was the first country to report disease last December and recorded over 84,000 total cases so far, India that reported its first case in January end, now has 1,65,799 cases that is more than Turkey’s (1,60,979).

The only good news for India is that it has shown a 42.88 per cent recovery with 71,105 of the patients who contacted the disease being cured and sent back home. In the past one day, 175 deaths were also reported.

Delhi and Tamil Nadu showed jump of around 1,000 cases as Maharashtra continued to contribute a lion’s share, it was still the worst hit state that reported 59,546 cases so far. Tamil Nadu now has 19,372 and Delhi 16,281 cases.

Gujarat reported 15,562 cases, Rajasthan 8,067, Madhya Pradesh 7,453 and Uttar Pradesh 7,170.

Kerala which had almost flatten the curve, is witnessing a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, there are now 1,088.

Number of cases have spiked in the North East, with Assam having 856 cases.

Other States and UTs have also reported steady increase and West Bengal now has 4,536 cases, Telangana (2,256), Punjab (2,158), Jammu and Kashmir (2,036), Bihar (3,296) and Andhra Pradesh(3,251).

India is currently in the fourth phase of lockdown which is till May 31. Cases spiked at record rate during the lockdown 4.0 that allowed much relaxation.

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Harsh Vardhan snubs AIIMS director Guleria’s prediction on Covid peak

Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Director Dr Guleria on May 7 had said, “National and international both experts are analysing the data. Most of them have guessed that India will most likely see the peak in June or July.”

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Harsh Vardhan and Dr Randeep Guleria

New Delhi, May 28 : In what appears to be a snub to the prediction made by AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria regarding COVID pandemic peak in the country, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said its “difficult” to make an assumption about “future scenarios of the disease”.

The Health Minister, in an exclusive interview with IANS, said that given the heterogeneous mathematical modeling based on varied assumptions and less information available about the virus, it was extremely difficult to make accurate predictions about future scenarios of the disease.

To a query by the IANS on when to expect the curve to flatten since AIIMS Director Guleria has said that the situation may worsen in the next two months, Harsh Vardhan clarified, “Right now, we have a steady curve. It has never shown any exponential rise.”

This seemingly public disagreement with Guleria is manifestation of the government’s apparent unhappiness with the AIIMS chief’s comment that sparked off fear psychosis amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in India.

The Minister added, “We are now trying to bend the curve downwards. The trajectory of the outbreak is decided by a number of factors such as pathogenicity and transmissibility of virus; availability of specific treatment or vaccine; as well as collective performance of all public health interventions undertaken to contain the outbreak such as testing and early case detection, isolation, quarantine, contact-tracing, optimum care of cases and surveillance.”

The Minister also said that COVID-19 is a new disease and the behaviour of this virus in the evolving outbreak is “unknown”. “We have isolated the virus and our scientists and epidemiologists are studying it with the help of gene sequencing. Not much data about the virus and the disease is available at the moment,” he said.

“Further as far as the issue of predictions of the further spread of the disease is concerned, let me tell you that I keep on hearing about one mathematical prediction model or the other. There are so many such models giving so many predictions round-the-clock that it is difficult to track them or justify them. But just like any mathematical model, these models are based on a number of assumptions and presumptions which may or may not match with real ground data because the data is still being generated each day and the disease has not matured across the world. Therefore, it beats me as to with so much uncertainties, whether it is possible to make accurate predictions about future scenarios of the disease,” said the minister.

Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Director Dr Guleria on May 7 had said, “National and international both experts are analysing the data. Most of them have guessed that India will most likely see the peak in June or July.”

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With 68 new cases, Gurugram records highest single-day spike

Officials said that the number of cases have swelled after restrictions on the borders connecting Delhi were lifted following an order by the Delhi High Court.

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Gurugram, May 28 : Gurugram is turning out to be a breeding ground for coronavirus these days. On Thursday, the district reported 68 new cases, the highest in a single, taking Gurugrams Covid-19 tally to 405, including 209 active cases.

The district has so far reported the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Haryana, far ahead of Faridabad (276) and Sonipat (180), placed second and third on the list, respectively. Gurugram has reported as many as 121 cases in the last three days.

Officials said that the number of cases have swelled after restrictions on the borders connecting Delhi were lifted following an order by the Delhi High Court. Also, the relaxations granted under Lockdown 4.0 have also added to the worries of the district administration.

Keeping in view the alarming situation, Haryana Chief Secretary (Home) Keshni Anand Arora visited Gurugram and Faridabad on Thursday to take stock of the situation and ordered to monitor every zone in the two districts.

She also asked the district administration for arrange for 100 ventilators and 500 additional beds.

Meanwhile, the Gurugram district administration has served show-cause notice to two private hospitals for refusing to admit Covid-19 infected patients.

Gurugram District Magistrate Amit Khatri has asked Paras Hospital and Park Hospital to submit their replies within a day.

“We had given strict directions to the private hospitals on May 25 to not to refuse any Covid-19 infected patient, else they would be liable to face legal action under the Pandemic Act, 1897. Despite that, violations have been made by few of them,” Khatri said.

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