The Weekend Leader - BHU study points to role of small RNAs in infection

BHU study points to role of small RNAs in infection




A study conducted by researchers of the Molecular Biology Unit at the Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (IMS-BHU) has highlighted the role of small RNAs (Ribonucleic acid) during Chandipura virus infection, which can be used in microRNA-based therapy.

The research on the pathogenesis of Chandipura virus was conducted by Neha Pandey under the supervision of Prof Sunit Kumar Singh, a well-known virologist and the head of the Molecular Biology Unit.

The study was published in the prestigious peer reviewed international scientific journal, "Journal of Biomedical Science".

The success of RNA-based vaccines in Covid-19 management, has proved that RNA-based drugs and vaccines may play an important role in the prevention of infectious diseases in the days to come.

"Whatever is neglected today may be a potential threat tomorrow. Therefore, it is very important to understand the intricate mechanism of neglected viruses," said Singh.

He said that in 1966, the Chandipura virus was discovered during an unknown fever outbreak in Chandipur village near Nagpur, Maharashtra.

The Chandipura virus particularly attracted the attention of virologists between 2002 and 2004, when its infection was reported in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.

According to him, there are no specific antiviral drugs for the treatment of the Chandipura virus. Prevention of vectors spreading the Chandipura virus, maintaining good nutrition, health, hygiene and awareness in rural areas will help in preventing the risks related to the virus infection.

The microglial cells of brain respond quickly to infections in the brain. Chandipura virus infection in the brain over-activates microglial cells and induces inflammation.

He said that the research highlighted a mechanism that might be involved in aggravating the encephalitis-like symptoms during Chandipura virus infection. The Chandipura virus is an RNA virus.

Children under the age of 15 are more vulnerable to Chandipura virus infection and have a higher mortality rate.

The Chandipura virus spreads through infected sandflies and mosquitoes. The sandflies belonging to Phlebotomus spp and Sergentomyia spp are reported to play a major role as a vector for the transmission of Chandipura virus.

Infection in the brain results in inflammation and disturbs normal functioning of the brain. Chandipura virus infection leads to high fever, vomiting, convulsions, and other brain disorders, similar to encephalitis like symptoms, and severely affected patients may slip into a coma or other serious complications.

These symptoms are classified under the category of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES). Most cases of AES are thought to be caused by bacterial meningitis or Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infection. However, in more than half of the cases of AES, the source or factor cannot be traced. IANS

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