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Breakthrough in allergy treatment

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, JAN.10. A young Indian scientist has achieved a major breakthrough in the area of allergy treatment by developing a method for diagnosing allergies caused by a class of fungi known as aspergillus.

The development is considered significant as the allergies caused by the fungi proves fatal in patients who are already having low immunity levels, such as AIDS patients and those undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. This is because symptoms are very similar to tuberculosis and the chest x-ray pictures also consequently look identical to that of TB patients. Consequently, doctors fail to identify it. The new diagnostic method is expected to overcome this problem.

The new technique, developed by Taruna Madan Gupta of CSIR's Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, is now in the process of being commercialised. The international management firm, Ernst and Young, is negotiating with drug companies to identify an industrial partner for its commercialisation.

The scientist and her colleagues have also identified a chemical molecule, which promises to provide a cure for allergies caused by asperigullus. Trials have been conducted with rat models and they have proved 80 per cent successful. Interestingly, the molecule had been designed by a scientist team in Oxford for conducting academic studies and it had been obtained by the scientists as part of a study to understand the fundamental biochemical process involved in allergic reactions.

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