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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Nano way to ease hepatitis fight


New Delhi: In a major scientific breakthrough, doctors at AIIMS claim to have successfully tested a new drug delivery system based on nanotechnology to replace injectable vaccination for Hepatitis B with oral dosage. Lead researcher A K Dinda told TOI that the system had been tested successfully on animals and human trials would be completed by 2021. "People will not require multiple injections for Hepatitis B if this
trial succeeds on humans. One oral dose will be enough," Dr Dinda said. He said the technology platform could also be used for vaccine development for TB and other viral infections. Vaccines contain a small amount of the antigen , or parts of the germs that cause disease, which are either killed or weakened so that they can't cause illness. When one is vaccinated, the body's immune system reacts by creating antibodies against the germ, thus, helping it prepare to fight when the real disease attacks. Dr Dinda said antigen in injectable form could not be given orally in normal circumstances because it could get degraded in stomach.
"In this case, we loaded the antigen into nanoparticles and coated it with a surfactant to protect degradation in the stomach. This helped in the absorption of the antigens in the intestines of the mice it were tested on," he said. Injectable vaccines are given mostly in the arm or thigh. From there, it goes to the lymph node in that region. However, in case of oral vaccine loaded in nanoparticles, the antigens spread to all lymph nodes within 2-6, causing better immune stimulation. In the AIIMS research, published in peer-reviewed medical journal Vaccine, the pathologists argued that the oral vaccine would help do away with booster dosage for Hepatitis B prevention since it sustained longer than the injectable one. AIIMS doctors used polymer material and detergent-like substance for coating which they claim is much cheaper than cost incurred in making injectable vaccine. "The vaccine, once prepared, would be safe, cost-effective and non-invasive method suitable for mass immunisation," said a doctor. Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver. It can cause lifelong infection, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death. India has over 40 million Hepatitis-B-infected patients, second only to China.

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