Macrophages are an important category of immune cells that patrol our body to find and destroy pathogens, often by swallowing them whole - a process known as phagocytosis. A recent study by researchers at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkata, has discovered how the physical properties of macrophages change in response to phagocytosis and how this, in turn, affects their function.
One of the reasons why viral infections can be difficult to treat is the high mutation rate displayed by many viruses, which can sometimes allow them to evade our immune systems and develop resistance to drugs. In this article, Shivani looks into the evidence gathered by scientists around the world on mutations in the genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has set off a wave of research activities across the world, aimed at finding clues that would allow us to design effective therapeutics and vaccines. In one such effort, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, have initiated a study into the molecular dynamics of the process via which the novel coronavirus attaches to cells of the human respiratory system.
In the last few years, research into engineered microscopic particles (nanobots) that can navigate through the body to deliver drugs with precision has intensified. Now, Researchers from IIT Guwahati have come up with nanobots synthesized from tea extracts, playfully named 'teabots', which can serve as biocompatible drug-delivery agents.
Just like animals, plants often face threats from their environment, including attacks by parasites, pests, and grazing animals. Unlike animals, however, plants cannot simply move away from the source of such threats. A new study from researchers at NIPGR, New Delhi, offers insights into the intricacies of the plant defence system and how it recognizes and responds to danger, particularly from insect pests.
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that kills lakhs of Indians every year. Early detection of the disease is key to administering treatment; however, this has been hampered by the fact that current diagnostic techniques are often costly and time-consuming. Now, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, have come up with an inexpensive paper-based diagnostic device for tuberculosis detection.
As the problem of antibiotic resistance mounts worldwide, there is a pressing need for identifying and testing novel drug targets. Recently, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and the Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI), Lucknow, has identified a protein pathway in an antibiotic-resistant bacterial strain which can be targeted using a small molecule to effectively kill the bacteria.