Indian researchers develop strategy against visceral Leishmaniasis


By NS Desk 17-Aug-2021

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) Indian researchers have developed a non-invasive, easy to administer, cost-effective and patient compliant potential therapeutic strategy against Visceral Leishmaniasis, a neglected tropical disease.

"The strategy based on nano-carrier-based oral drugs coated with Vitamin B12 enhanced oral bioavailability and efficacy of the therapy by more than 90 per cent," a release from the Department of Science & Technology (DST) said on Monday.

Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a complex infectious disease transmitted by the bite of female Phlebotomies and flies. It is a neglected tropical disease that affects millions annually, making it the second most common parasitic killer after malaria.

The conventional treatment therapy of VL mainly involves painful intravenous administration, which imposes many treatment complications, including prolonged hospitalisation, high cost, and high risk of infection.

"Oral drug delivery brings forth massive advantages that can help overcome these barriers. But with oral routes, there are other challenges as more than 90 per cent of orally administered therapeutic drugs have less than 2 per cent bioavailability and potentially high hepatic and renal toxic side-effects," the release said.

A team led by Shyam Lal from the Institute of Nano-Science and Technology (INST), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, has developed a smart and intelligent nano-carrier utilising the natural intrinsic Vitamin B12 pathway present in human body that can mitigate stability challenges and drug-associated toxicity.

The team has disguised the toxic but highly efficient drug of the disease within a biocompatible lipid nano-carrier, shielding it from degradation in the hostile gastric environment, thus overcoming the gastrointestinal enzymatic barriers endured by any foreign synthetic drug molecule.

"This minimied its side effects, while the natural intrinsic Vitamin B12 pathway enhanced the oral bioavailability and anti-Leishmanial therapeutic efficacy by more than 90 per cent, as shown in the associated animal studies," the release said.

The INST team critically evaluated the efficacy and properties of Vitamin B12 (VB12) coated solid lipid nano-particles and their subsequent potential ramification in evading cytotoxicity and escalating stability.



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