10th January 2018, Jalandhar: It is indeed a serious concern for the entire humanity that ‘parasite infections’ are among the most common infections worldwide and affect the poorest and most deprived communities. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that these infect over 1.5 billion people, amounted to be 24% of the global population. Keeping the same in mind, Assistant Professor Dr. Anish Kumar at the School of Bioengineering and Biosciences of Lovely Professional University researched hard and presently shared his important scientific findings with top scientists of the world. The occasion was ‘Workshop on Parasitic Nematodes’ at New York University Campus on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, where specially invited 25+ distinguished researchers from top-ranked universities of the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Abu Dhabi, Lebanon and more also shared their innovative ideas.
This prestigious three-day workshop proved a rare opportunity for LPU Scientist as he was the only Indian who received travel grant award, across the world, for participating. Experts, from the ‘free-living nematode C. elegans (Caenorhabditis elegans) and parasite biology communities’ interacted for the propagation of research ideas. LPU scientist presented a poster on ''Managing albendazole resistance in parasitic worm infestations utilizing traditional plant sources: Bioinformatics strategy.'' His work is mainly focused on the usage of traditional Indian plant “Andrographis paniculata” to treat commonly used drug ‘albendazole’ resistance using computational tools. LPU Chancellor Mr. Ashok Mittal congratulated Dr. Anish for his innovative research and invoked other scientists at the university to be on the foot-prints of the great bio-researcher at LPU.
Dr. Anish shares: “One of the most popular medicinal plants ‘Andrographis paniculata’ commonly known as “hara chiretta, kal megh” is used traditionally for the treatment of range of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, ulcer, leprosy, bronchitis, skin diseases, flatulence, colic, influenza, dysentery, dyspepsia and malaria for centuries in Asia, America and Africa continents. It possesses several photochemical constituents with unique and interesting biological properties. My findings describe the present state of research on this plant with respect to the required medicinal usage, and to bridge the gap requiring future research opportunities.”
Talking about the commonly used medicine “Albendazole”, he also informed: “It is used to treat a wide range of parasite infections- Elephantiasis, Ascariasis, Trichuriasis, Giardiasis and Onchocerciasis (river blindness). Drug resistance cases have been reported with the usage of albendazole treatment; however, drug resistance in parasite disease is a neglected area. Using bioinformatics approach, we can save both time and money involved with the drug target findings.”
Sharing his concern, Dr. Anish says: “For serious parasitic diseases eradication, resistance to currently used drugs is increasing, yet this largely third-world problem is not a focus for major pharmaceutical companies. With advances in the fields of genomics, host-parasite molecular interactions, and drug screening in model organisms such as C. elegans, research in these interdisciplinary areas are rapidly developing and becoming highly exciting.” Highlighting, the extract and pure compounds of the plant have been noted for anti-microbial, anti-protozoan, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-infective, and toxicity activities.
LPU scientist also got a great opportunity to meet great scientists including Dr. Kris Gunsalus (New York University), Dr. Oliver Hobert (Columbia University), Dr. James Lok (University of Pennsylvania), Dr. Erik Andersen (Northwestern University), Dr. Hala Fahs (NYU Abu Dhabi) and more. The other authors who assisted Dr. Anish in this research are Ms. Anshika Mahajan (Jammu University, Jammu) and Dr. Karuna Khajuria (SKIMS, Kashmir).