Thursday, October 20, 2016

Novel Method of Diagnosis for H1N1 Developed in Mumbai

Global Health requires an interdisciplinary perspective that does not solely rely on the microbiological aspect of medicine to tackle challenges involving the lives of millions of patients. One such challenge was presented when India was not able to quickly and properly diagnosis patients with H1N1 due to the lack of equipment to complete sophisticated, expensive testing that requires RT-PCR. In order to address this issue, researchers in Mumbai identified six proteins that could serve as biomarkers for a rapid H1N1 diagnostic (non-invasive) nasal swab test. The development of such diagnostic test is a step taken by the Mumbai public health system to implement preventative measures for H1N1, which is a disease that is known to spread quickly and also hide in the midst of other diseases with similar symptoms. Because H1N1 has symptoms that also mimic bacterial infections, often times, patients will be prescribed with antibiotics that do not relieve the symptoms of a viral infection.

In order to identify the novel six protein biomarkers, a six member team, including professors at Grant Government Medical College, professors at the University of Mumbai-Department of Atomic Energy (UM-DAE) Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences, and professors from the Haffkine Institute, designed that study that involved collecting 200 nasal and throat swabs from patients who were tested positive for H1N1 during the 2009 outbreak. Through two dimensional electrophoresis, the proteins were separated and compared to the results of healthy patients. By comparative analysis, six novel protein biomarkers were discovered that can be applied in the development of a novel H1N1 diagnostic test. 

This was a global health issue that involved the microbiological, epidemiological, and economic perspectives to integrate with each other in order to develop a preventative measure for H1N1. 

~Michelle Bach (Humans and Viruses 2016-2017)

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