IIT Roorkee Develops Chikungunya Cure In Tamarind Protein

Chikunguya, one of the widely spread diseases due to mosquito bite makes thousands of people suffer every year in India. This disease may not be fatal to life but the suffering due to it lasts about a week. People suffer from joint pain, high fever, headaches and several other problems due to it. In response to it, a team from IIT Roorkee made an effort to prevent this disease from harming anyone. They synthesized a protein from something so common, that we come across in our day to lives but never knew it was there.

Synthesizing the cure

Shailly Tomar, a researcher from department of biotechnology at IIT Roorkee led a team to fight chikungunya and found that a protein present in tamarind seeds (TCLL) was capable to bind itself with the sugar moiety present on the surface of the chikungunya virus. When it bonded with the sugar moiety, it coated the virus particles. As a result, the virus could not interact with the host cells. 

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(The team of IIT Roorkee)

We wanted to study if TCLL binds to chikungunya virus through the NAG moiety. Our hypothesis was that if the TCLL protein binds to NAG, the virus will not be able to attach and interact with host cell receptors leading to less infection,” Prof. Tomar says.

Affirmations to theory

It was observed that when treated with TCLL, the virus infestation was reduced to a large extent. TCLL protein was used in different doses to incubate with the virus for different time periods to test its effectiveness and the yields were amazing. Nearly 100 micromolar of protein used with virus reduced the bonding of virus with hosts by 64%. Also, the RNA levels in the host cells showed 45% reduction of chikungunya which was remarkable.

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(Structure of TCLL)

Like antibodies that bind to the virus surface and neutralises or prevents the virus from binding to the host cells, the TCLL protein binds to NAG and prevents the virus from interacting and infecting the host cells,” says Shailly.

Benefits and future scope

This research may have been directed towards the cure of chikungunya, but the way it has manipulated sugar moiety to cure this virus can also be implemented to cure other viral diseases like HIV and influenza. The Roorkee team is now planning to test the cure on animal cells to advance their research and modify the protein to prevent this disease from harming human cells. In future, many more viral diseases may be tacked with the idea they have given.

pic courtesy: pic-1, pic-2;

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