Beijing, Aug 15 (IANS) Researchers have identified that low microRNA (miRNA) immunity increases the risk of Covid-19 infection in older adults and people with diabetes.MicroRNAs are a key class of gene expression regulators which play an important role in inflammation and immune response.The study led by researchers from Nanjing University in China identified four circulating miRNAs -- miR-7-5p, miR-24-3p, miR-145-5p and miR-223-3p -- which are high in healthy people and much lower in older people and diabetic patients.These miRNAs could effectively inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication by directly targeting the S protein, said Chen-Yu Zhang from the varsity's School of Life Sciences.Serum exosomes containing these miRNAs from young people could strongly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication, but this inhibitory effect was low in older people and diabetic patients, the researchers said.Long-term exercise was found to increase the level of these miRNAs in the blood offering better protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.The team found that three out of the four circulating miRNAs are significantly increased in the serum of healthy volunteers after 8-weeks' continuous physical exercise. Serum exosomes isolated from these volunteers also showed stronger inhibitory effects on S protein expression and SARS-CoV-2 replication.The study also provides an interesting observation that continuous physical exercise could boost miRNA immunity against SARS-CoV-2, which gives you another reason to hit the gym after work. Working out every day would therefore help all of us, old or young, to stay out of Covid-19's way.Further, the findings, detailed in the journal Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy, also demonstrates for the first time that our own endogenous miRNAs could directly inhibit SARS-CoV-2 virus.Previous studies led by the tema have shown that approximately 89 per cent of viruses that infect humans could be targeted by human miRNAs. The new study provides strong and direct evidence supporting the theory that miRNAs, particularly extracellular miRNAs, could function as "RNA defense" and protect cells against foreign nucleic acids, Zhang said.The study indicates that miRNAs are an important component of the endogenous RNA-based immune system to fight virus infection. This new understanding of miRNA function may provide new perspectives for prevention, surveillance and treatment of Covid-19, Zhang added.--IANSrvt/dpb
New York, Aug 14 (IANS) A team of researchers has revealed that new biomarkers found in the eyes could unlock the key to helping manage diabetic retinopathy and perhaps even diabetes.The researchers said that during its early stages, diabetes can affect the eyes before the changes are detectable with a regular clinical examination.However, new retinal research has found that these changes can be measured earlier than previously thought with specialised optical techniques and computer analysis."Early detection of retinal damage from diabetes is possible to obtain with painless methods and might help identify undiagnosed patients early enough to diminish the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes," said researcher Ann E. Elsner from the Indiana University.The ability to detect biomarkers for this sight-threatening condition may lead to the early identification of people at risk for diabetes or a visual impairment, as well as improve physicians' ability to manage these patients.The new study is part of the current widespread emphasis on the detection of diabetic retinopathy through AI applied to retinal images. However, some of these algorithms provide detection based on features that occur much later than the changes found in this study.The IU-led method advances earlier detection because of the retinal image processing algorithms described in the study.For the study, published in the journal PLOS One, the team conducted the retinal image analysis in a lab. They used data collected from volunteers with diabetes, along with healthy control subjects.AAdditional data were also collected from a diabetic retinopathy screening of members of the underserved community.The computer analysis was performed on retinal image data commonly collected in well-equipped clinics, but much of the information used in this study is often ignored for diagnosis or management of patients.--IANSvc/arm
Hyderabad, July 1 (IANS) Amid the rush to develop cures for the coronavirus, a study by a University of Hyderabad (UoH) incubated startup, has discovered that an anti-diabetic drug has potential use as a ready to use, cost-effective solution for safely treating Covid patients.In-vitro and in-silico studies conducted by ReaGene Innovations Private Limited, a startup company incubated at the ASPIRE-BioNEST, and INDRAS Private Limited, indicate that re-purposing the anti-diabetic drug Ertugliflozin, might provide a therapeutic solution to the Covid-19 infection.Ertugliflozin, an FDA approved drug for type-2 diabetes, works as SGLT-2 inhibitor by removing excessive glucose through urine.The research findings indicate that this re-purposed drug not only binds effectively to the receptor binding domain of the spike protein of Covid-19 and further blocks binding to human ACE2 but also displays significant anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties in a 3D human vascular lung model, both of which are fundamentals in Covid infection.This is the first result that offers a safe, ready-to-use, cost-effective solution to humans who contract Covid."It has immense potential to treat Covid infection, and our research proves its efficacy in the test-tube assays", said Dr Uday Saxena, CEO of ReaGene Innovations, co-founded with Dr Subramanyam Vangala, and Dr Sreedhara Voleti, MD of INDRAS.INDRAS focus is on consulting, contracting, and collaborative solutions to in-silico drug design, has prioritized about 8,000 FDA approved drugs to top-10 from their computational studies, which were further experimented by ReaGene Innovations for various in-vitro assays on cytokine storm, antithrombotic properties, and inflammatory marker reduction through various in vitro assays.The path to find such a re-purposed drug was critically planned and completed within a year of funding from the IT giant, Tech Mahindra.The outcomes of the results of this research were recently published in a journal (BioRxIV) and a joint patent has been filed both in India as well as internationally under Patent Cooperation Treaty.The results obtained are highly encouraging, and further in animal models towards preclinical, and clinical outcomes in humans are yet to be conducted for this drug to be officially nominated as a therapeutic agent for COVID-19, the company said in a statement.ASPIRE-BioNEST is a life sciences incubator jointly funded by BIRAC, a section-8 not-for-profit organization of Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India, and University of Hyderabad (UoH) for nurturing scaling technologies through entrepreneurship.--IANSpvn/skp/
New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) A team of experts has developed an Intel-powered comprehensive retina risk assessment software-as-a-service platform in India.Developed by Sankara Eye Foundation and Singapore-based Leben Care, Netra.AI is a cloud-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution and is powered by Intel technology. It uses deep learning to identify retinal conditions in a short span of time. The solution can identify diabetic retinopathy (DR), greatly reducing the screening burden on vitreoretinal surgeons."With Netra.AI, Sankara Eye Foundation and Leben Care have leveraged the power of Intel Xeon Scalable processors and built-in Intel Deep Learning (DL) Boost to accurately detect DR and enable timely treatment to effectively combat avoidable vision impairment and blindness in diabetic patients." Prakash Mallya, Vice President and Managing Director of Sales, Marketing and Communications Group, Intel India, said in a statement.Netra.AI analyzes images from portable, technician-operated fundus camera devices, for immediate results of referable DR grading via a cloud-based web portal. The solution uses cutting-edge AI algorithms, developed in collaboration with leading retina experts, with a four-step deep convolutional neural network (DCNN).So far, Netra.AI has screened 3,093 patients in India and identified 742 at-risk patients.India has one of the largest diabetic populations of any country in the world, approaching 98 million cases by 2030. Research shows that DR is a leading cause of blindness and vision loss in adults, and early detection and treatment is critical to stopping the damage. However, the lack of trained retinal specialists in India -- especially in remote, rural regions -- limits effective screening of asymptomatic patients. This results in patients coming late with advanced diabetic eye disease.--IANSvc/bg
Bengaluru- Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca India on Monday announced that it has received marketing authorisation for its anti-diabetic drug -- dapagliflozin -- in India for the treatment of patients of chronic kidney disease (CKD) up to third stage.
This permission paves the way for the launch of Dapagliflozin Tablets 10mg into a new disease area in India.
AstraZeneca's dapagliflozin is the first medicine in SGLT-2i class to move into a new disease area by demonstrating efficacy and safety data for the treatment of patients with CKD, the company said in a statement.
"With the approval of dapagliflozin for CKD in India, an already effective Type-2 Diabetes and select heart failure treatment can now be used by nephrologists in the management of CKD," said Anil Kukreja, Vice President - Medical Affairs & Regulatory, AstraZeneca India.
"Dapagliflozin is the first SGLT2 inhibitor to demonstrate such unprecedented efficacy in management of Chronic Kidney Disease," Kukreja added.
Detailed results from the ground-breaking Phase III DAPA-CKD trial showed that AstraZeneca's dapagliflozin on top of standard of care reduced the composite measure of worsening of renal function or risk of cardiovascular (CV) or renal death by 39 per cent compared to placebo in patients with CKD Stages 2-4 and elevated urinary albumin excretion.
The results were consistent in patients both with and without Type-2 diabetes.
CKD is a serious, progressive condition defined by decreased kidney function affecting nearly 700 million people worldwide, many of them still undiagnosed, and the most common causes are diabetes, hypertension and glomerulonephritis. (IANS)
New York, Dec 29 (IANS) Diabetes patients on glucose-lowering drugs are at risk of rare Covid-19 complications, especially those who use a popular class of diabetes drugs called sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i), which function by releasing excess glucose in the urine.In diabetes patients, rare but severe complications, like the potentially lethal condition diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), can arise when illness or certain conditions prevent cells from receiving enough glucose to fuel their functioning.The researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital observed an uptick in a particular type of DKA called euDKA during the pandemicEuDKA is a subset of the diabetes complication known as DKA, which occurs when the body's cells fail to absorb enough glucose and compensate by metabolizing fats instead, creating a build-up of acids called ketones.EuDKA differs from DKA in that it is characterised by lower blood sugar levels, making it more difficult to diagnose.Underlying nearly all euDKA cases is a state of starvation that can be triggered by illnesses that cause vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite and can be compounded by the diuretic effect of SGLT2i drugs, noted the study published in The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Clinical Case Reports."We have the background knowledge of recognising that SGLT2 inhibitors can cause DKA and euDKA," said corresponding author Naomi Fisher of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension."Our report reinforces that if patients are ill or have loss of appetite or are fasting, they should pause their medication and not resume until they are well and eating properly."Brigham researchers studied five unusual euDKA cases brought to the diabetes inpatient services within the span of two months, three of which occurred in one week, at the height of the pandemic in Boston in the spring of 2020.The authors also suspect that Covid-19 may particularly exacerbate euDKA risks.When the virus infects a patient, it binds to cells on the pancreas that produce insulin and may exert a toxic effect on them.Studies of the earlier SARS-CoV-1 virus found that many infected patients had increased blood sugar."It's been posited through other models that the virus may be preferentially destroying insulin-producing cells," Fisher said.The authors encourage patients and physicians to halt SGLT2i-use in the event of illness, which is already standard practice for the most common diabetes drug, metformin.--IANSna/in