Herbs control spread of HIV
Assistant Professor M Estari and his team of Zoology Department at Kakatiya University have been recording encouraging results in controlling the enzymes produced by retroviruses such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Warangal: Assistant Professor M Estari and his team of Zoology Department at Kakatiya University have been recording encouraging results in controlling the enzymes produced by retroviruses such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
As part of the research, they are using the extracts of locally available herbal plants which tribal population in the district and other parts of the State apply to cure various ailments, including venereal diseases. Research aimed at finding an effective cure for HIV has been supported by the Union Government’s Department of Bio-Technology (DBT).
According to Estari, the plants they have been using are Tippa Teega, whose botanical name is Tinospora cordifolia, and Tangedu which bears the botanical name of Cassia Occidentalis.
He explained that when a person was infected by HIV, the growth rate of the virus depends or was controlled by enzymes called integrase and crotese reverse transcriptase. When these enzymes become more active the virus spreads fast leading to the death of the patient.
Integrase enables its genetic material to be integrated into the DNA of the infected cell while reverse transcriptase generates complementary DNA (cDNA) for the replication of retroviruses. If the activity of these enzymes is controlled, the spread of HIV virus could be checked. Here the herbal plant extracts were playing a crucial role, Estari explained. The research team has applied the extracts of Tippa Tiga and Tangedu which controlled the activity of the enzymes that are responsible for the growth of HIV virus, he added.
Method of extraction cannot be revealed, he said. Results of the primary research work were very encouraging and the DBT also expressed its satisfaction. The total cost of the research project which would last three years is Rs 47 lakh. A detailed report would be submitted to the DBT for their assessment at the end of the project, the Assistant Professor said.
It might be noted that Tangedu is used in several traditional medicines to cure various diseases. This plant has been known to possess antibacterial, antifungal, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous and anti-mutagenic characteristics.
On the other hand, Tippa Teega is mostly used to control blood sugar level in diabetes. It also helps to check fevers like malaria, dengue, and typhoid.
But this is first time to apply the medicinal properties of the above herbs to control enzymes which are responsible for the growth of HIV virus, Estari elaborates.