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A breakthrough in treatment of cerebral malaria
[August 18, 2007]

A breakthrough in treatment of cerebral malaria

(The Statesman (India) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Aditi Shome KHARAGPUR, Aug 18: The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur today gave away the Nina Saxena excellence in technology award to Dr SPS Khanuja for his research in developing a drug yielding plant genotype in India for treatment of cerebral malaria. The genotype, named CIM- Arogya, is developed through molecular breeding for the treatment of chloroquine resistant malaria also known as cerebral malaria. The innovation will facilitate indigenous self-reliance in the country. Indian companies earlier imported insufficient quantity of artemisinin, a drug obtained from the plant, at a high price. But the research at the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), led by Dr Khanuja, has not only developed a genotype of the plant but has also increased the quantity of artemisinin from 0.8 per cent-1.05 per cent thereby reducing its price from Rs 40,000 per kg to Rs 15, 000 per kg. Dr Khanuja, director, CIMAP, said: The innovation will not only benefit the health sector but also the agricultural sector as the farmers will be able to earn around Rs 60-70 thousand per hectare for cultivating the plant within a duration of 6-7 months without disturbing the food chain. He added that seven pharmaceutical companies, including ICAP and Themis, have been given the license for processing the genotype. A bio reactor system is also likely to be developed along with the genotype processing. The research, supported by WHO and Medicine for Malaria Venture (MMV), will also extend to developing drugs to combat a artemisinin-resistant situation. Commenting on the construction of the flyover by IIT, Prof. Damodar Acharya, director, IIT Kharagpur, said that out of the total project cost of Rs 24 crore, 37.5 per cent of the funds will be given by the railway, 37.5 per cent by the state government, and 25 per cent by IIT Kharagpur. The construction work will be undertaken by an agency. He added that projects worth Rs 107 crore in the areas of steel, tea, coffee, mobile communication and technological business incubation were in the pipeline.

Copyright 2007 The Statesman Ltd, Source: The Financial Times Limited

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