World TB Day: CSIR-IICT team distribute masks at Gandhi Medical College & Hospital


Hyderabad: In a bid to spread awareness and mark the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) on Wednesday distributed masks to inmates of the Gandhi Medical College and Hospital.  It forms part of its Scientific Social Responsibility.

The theme of World TB Day 2021 is ‘The Clock is Ticking’, which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by global leaders.  This awareness campaign is important as the current pandemic has restricted the progress to achieve an end to TB in the country and world over.

An official pressnote issued by the CSIR-IICT claimed it is committed to fight against tuberculosis and a significant progress towards limiting TB was achieved by their Diretor Dr S Chandrasekhar and his colleagues through synthesis of bedaquiline. “This is the first drug approved by FDA after a gap of over 40 years for the treatment of multi-drug resistant TB”, it added.

The CSIR-IICT team has developed a process for simpler transformations and higher yields to ensure ready availability of the drug. In fact, a major problem in TB treatment is the development of multidrug‐resistant tuberculosis strains (MDR‐TB), which can be defined as strains that show resistance towards first‐line drugs used in TB treatment. Hence, inclusion of bedaquiline in combination drug therapy is known to treat the patients infected by these multi-drug resistant strains.

“This day, March 24 marks the discovery of the bacterium that causes TB by Dr Robert Koch in 1882. This discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing the disease”, it pointed out and added; “TB is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and it is primarily an infirmity of the respiratory system and is spread through air via coughing and sneezing of the infected person”.

Bedaquiline, it said works by blocking an enzyme inside the bacteria that cause TB. Enzymes are molecules which speed up chemical reactions in the body. The particular enzyme which is blocked is one that is used by the bacteria to generate energy. Without the ability to generate energy, the TB bacteria die and the patient’s condition should start to improve.

According to a WHO estimate, TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers. Each day, nearly 4000 lose their lives to TB and close to 28,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 63 million lives since the year 2000.

Dr. S. Sridhar, Dr. Sistla Rama Krishna and Dr. M. Chandrasekharam of CSIR-IICT, Dr. M. Raja Rao, Superintendent, Gandhi Medical College and Hospital and Sri Narasimha Murthy and volunteers from Sevabharathi actively participated in the Masks distribution.