A neglected and old anti-parasitic drug used during World War II is emerging as a new weapon in the fight against malaria, even as the malaria parasite becomes resistant to currently available drugs.
A group of Indian researchers have resurrected acriflavine or ACF which was used as an anti-parasite drug in the last century, and have found it to be effective against the malaria parasite. Now they are working to make this molecule more effective using nanotechnology.
Researchers at the Special Centre for Molecular Medicine at Jawaharlal Nehru University have got a patent for antimalarial properties of ACF. They have now joined hands with scientists at the National Institute of Immunology to develop a nano-formulation of the drug and to study its potential in animal models. The Department of Biotechnology is funding this joint effort.
ACF was previously used as a trypanocidal agent against a range of infections during World War II. But due to preferential use of chloroquine for treatment of malaria, its antimalarial activity was never investigated. “It was used as an antibacterial and anti-parasitical agent but it was not known as antimalarial agent. We have found that it is effective as an antimalarial molecule also,” said Professor Suman Dhar of Jawaharlal Nehru University. “We believe nanoformulation of ACF will help release the molecule slowly into the host. This will increase its stability, and it will be then conjugated with specific antibodies to make it more specific.”
The researchers have already shown that ACF inhibits the growth of both chloroquine-sensitive and chloroquine-resistant strains of human malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum. It was also found to clear malarial infection from bloodstreams of mice infected with Plasmodium berghei. In addition, they have found that ACF is preferentially accumulated in parasitised red blood cells.
Chloroquine and pyrimethamine, which were used as primary chemotherapeutic drugs, are of little use now since the parasite has developed resistance to them. Though there is a decline in global burden of malaria continues to be a major health problem in many countries. Recent reports of resistance to artemisinin, the only effective antimalarial drug at present, are causing concern among health agencies globally.
The team of researchers includes Prof Suman Dhar from Special Center for Molecular Medicine at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dr Jaydeep Bhattacharya and Dr Deepak Gaur from School of Biotechnology at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Dr Agam P. Singh from National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi.
This article was first published on India Science Wire.
What’s the difference between ‘a’ washing machine and a ‘great’ washing machine?
The right machine can save water, power consumption, time, energy and your clothes from damage.
In 2010, Hans Rosling, a Swedish statistician, convinced a room full of people that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution. In the TED talk delivered by him, he illuminates how the washing machine freed women from doing hours of labour intensive laundry, giving them the time to read books and eventually join the labour force. Rosling’s argument rings true even today as it is difficult to deny the significance of the washing machine in our everyday lives.
For many households, buying a washing machine is a sizable investment. Oddly, buyers underestimate the importance of the decision-making process while buying one and don’t research the purchase as much as they would for a television or refrigerator. Most buyers limit their buying criteria to type, size and price of the washing machine.
Visible technological advancements can be seen all around us, making it fair to expect a lot more from household appliances, especially washing machines. Here are a few features to expect and look out for before investing in a washing machine:
Cover your basics
Do you wash your towels every day? How frequently do you do your laundry? Are you okay with a bit of manual intervention during the wash cycle? These questions will help filter the basic type of washing machine you need. The semi-automatics require manual intervention to move clothes from the washing tub to the drying tub and are priced lower than a fully-automatic. A fully-automatic comes in two types: front load and top load. Front loading machines use less water by rotating the inner drum and using gravity to move the clothes through water.
The size or the capacity of the machine is directly proportional to the consumption of electricity. The right machine capacity depends on the daily requirement of the household. For instance, for couples or individuals, a 6kg capacity would be adequate whereas a family of four might need an 8 kg or bigger capacity for their laundry needs. This is an important factor to consider since the wrong decision can consume an unnecessary amount of electricity.
Machine intelligence that helps save time
In situations when time works against you and your laundry, features of a well-designed washing machine can come to rescue. There are programmes for urgent laundry needs that provide clean laundry in a super quick 15 to 30 minutes’ cycle; a time delay feature that can assist you to start the laundry at a desired time etc. Many of these features dispel the notion that longer wash cycles mean cleaner clothes. In fact, some washing machines come with pre-activated wash cycles that offer shortest wash cycles across all programmes without compromising on cleanliness.
The green quotient
Despite the conveniences washing machines offer, many of them also consume a substantial amount of electricity and water. By paying close attention to performance features, it’s possible to find washing machines that use less water and energy. For example, there are machines which can adjust the levels of water used based on the size of the load. The reduced water usage, in turn, helps reduce the usage of electricity. Further, machines that promise a silent, no-vibration wash don’t just reduce noise – they are also more efficient as they are designed to work with less friction, thus reducing the energy consumed.
Customisable washing modes
Crushed dresses, out-of-shape shirts and shrunken sweaters are stuff of laundry nightmares. Most of us would rather take out the time to hand wash our expensive items of clothing rather than trusting the washing machine. To get the dirt out of clothes, washing machines use speed to first agitate the clothes and spin the water out of them, a process that takes a toll on the fabric. Fortunately, advanced machines come equipped with washing modes that control speed and water temperature depending on the fabric. While jeans and towels can endure a high-speed tumble and spin action, delicate fabrics like silk need a gentler wash at low speeds. Some machines also have a monsoon mode. This is an India specific mode that gives clothes a hot rinse and spin to reduce drying time during monsoons. A super clean mode will use hot water to clean the clothes deeply.
Washing machines have come a long way, from a wooden drum powered by motor to high-tech machines that come equipped with automatic washing modes. Bosch washing machines include all the above-mentioned features and provide damage free laundry in an energy efficient way. With 32 different washing modes, Bosch washing machines can create custom wash cycles for different types of laundry, be it lightly soiled linens, or stained woollens. The ActiveWater feature in Bosch washing machines senses the laundry load and optimises the usage of water and electricity. Its EcoSilentDrive motor draws energy from a permanent magnet, thereby saving energy and giving a silent wash. The fear of expensive clothes being wringed to shapelessness in a washing machine is a common one. The video below explains how Bosch’s unique VarioDrumTM technology achieves damage free laundry.
To start your search for the perfect washing machine, see here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Bosch and not by the Scroll editorial team.