Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Scientists develop new drug to replace antibiotics

In a small patient trial, the new drug was shown to be effective at eradicating the drug-resistant superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA


In a breakthrough, scientists have developed the first effective alternative to antibiotics that may aid the fight against drug-resistant infections.


In a small patient trial, the drug was shown to be effective at eradicating the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).


Researchers said it is unlikely that the infection could develop resistance against the new treatment, which is already available as a cream for skin infections.


They hope to develop a pill or an injectable version of the drug within five years.


The treatment marks “a new era in the fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” according to Mark Offerhaus, chief executive of the biotechnology company Micreos, which is behind the advance.


The treatment attacks infections in an entirely different way from conventional drugs and, unlike them, exclusively targets the Staphylococcus bacteria responsible for MRSA, and leaves other microbes unaffected.


The approach is inspired by naturally occurring viruses that attack bacteria using enzymes called endolysins. It uses a ‘designer’ endolysin, Staphefekt, which the scientists engineered to latch on to the surface of bacteria cells and tear them apart, ‘The Times’ reported.


“Endolysins exist in nature, but we’ve made a modified version that combines the bit that is best at binding to the bacteria with another bit that is best at killing it,” said Bjorn Herpers, a clinical microbiologist, who tested the drug at the Public Health Laboratory in Kennemerland, the Netherlands.


Conventional antibiotics need to reach the inside of the cell to work, and part of the reason they are becoming less effective is that certain strains of bacteria, such as MRSA, have evolved impenetrable membranes.


By contrast, endolysins target basic building blocks on the outside of bacterial cells that are unlikely to change as infections genetically mutate over time.


Scientists believe that the results could mark the first of a wave of endolysin-based therapies for infections that conventional drugs are no longer able to treat.


About 80% of gonorrhoea infections are resistant to frontline drugs, and multidrug-resistant salmonella, tuberculosis and E coli are regarded as significant threats.


Naturally occurring endolysins can attack all of these diseases, and the challenge is to create stable versions that can be packaged as drugs, researchers said.


The findings were presented at the Antibiotic Alternatives for the New Millennium conference at London.


Govt ministries, departments to publish working hours, holidays on website

Accepting a proposal by Delhi-based tireless crusader Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra, the union government has asked all its ministries and departments to post their working hours and list of holidays on their portals


Acting on a proposal submitted by Delhi-based Right to Information (RTI) activist Commodore (retd) Lokesh Batra, the union government has asked all ministries and departments to publish working hours and list of holidays on their websites.


Cmde Batra on 4 July 2014 sent a proposal to joint secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat. He had said, "I propose that the Cabinet Secretariat may please issue directions to all Ministries, Departments and other public authorities of the government of India to upload on the home page of their Websites information regarding "Working Hours, Holidays List and Public dealing hours".


On the same day, the proposal was sent to Secretary of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (AR&PG). On 8th July, the AR&PG sent an acknowledgement message to Cmde Batra.

After waiting for about two months, Cmde Batra sent a reminder to the Secretary of AR&PG. In mid-October, he met the Secretary and explained his proposal mentioning that Indian citizens’ across the globe living in different time zones are referring to government websites for any communicating they need to make.


It must be noted that all Indian missions, posts overseas upload their working hours on the websites.

Soon after Cmde Batra's meeting, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) posted its working hours on its website under the 'contact us' tag.


On 5 November 2014, the government issued an office memorandum (OM) directing all its ministries and departments to post working hours and list of holidays on their respective websites.


"When citizens’ suggestions get recognised...I call it democracy is at its best," Cmde Batra said.

He had also sent two other proposals to the government. It includes a proposal to have a dedicated email ID for RTI applications and appeals by all Central Public Authorities as is being done by the Prime Minister's Office and few other authorities. His other proposal is to extend the e-Indian Postal Order (E-IPO) facility to all states for paying RTI fees.


It is noteworthy to mention that it was Cmde Batra's six year battle that resulted in the government facilitating eIPO for payment of RTI fees in 2,496 central government offices.


It all started in October 2008 when Cmde Batra was visiting his daughter in Boston (USA) and wanted to file follow up RTI in the Nithari case but could not do as there was no facility for payment of RTI fee/cost from abroad


Between 2008 and 2013, Cmde Batra filed 150 RTI applications to Indian Mission in the US, Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Secretariats of President and Vice President and Leaders of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. A complaint was also filed in Central Information Commission (CIC).


From 22 March 2013, Indians abroad were provided the facility of paying RTI fee online, for their e-RTI applications. Since 13 February 2014, all of us living in India too were allowed to use online RTI by paying the fee through e-IPO in central government’s public authorities.



Suketu Shah

3 years ago

NaMo effect.What Congress was unable to do in 60 yrs,things are happeneing under respected NaMo and Respected Amit Shah in less than 6 months.Ache din aaye hain.

UIDAI, NPR asked to complete enrolment of entire population by March?

According to a media report, the PMO has asked UIDAI and NPR to complete enrolments of entire population March next year


In order to extend the use of Aadhaar number to various social welfare schemes, government has reportedly asked the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the National Population Register (NPR) to complete the enrolment of the entire population by March.


According to a media report, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has directed UIDAI and the NPR to complete the enrolment of the entire population of 120 crore by March.


Quoting source, the report says, the direction was given during a review meeting of the Aadhaar project last month. Earlier too, the government had advanced the deadline for completing this task to June from December next year.


UIDAI has already issued 70 crore Aadhaar numbers to residents across the country. Nine states, including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, have crossed 90% Aadhaar coverage, while 16 states have over 70% coverage, said a statement from UIDAI.


Aadhaar enrolments in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh are going on at a fast pace.


These four states with a combined population of about 34 crore were added earlier this year to UIDAI's mandate by the government. Aadhaar numbers have been issued to 8.93 crore residents in these states, which is 26% of the target population.


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