Antiviral properties of Vachellia nilotica

Ethnopharmacological relevance; Vachellia (Acacia) nilotica and other plants of this genus have been used in traditional medicine of Asian and African countries to treat many disorders, including sexually transmitted diseases, but few studies were performed to validate their anti-microbial and anti-viral activity against sexually transmitted infections.

Aim of the study: The present study was undertaken to explore whether the ethnomedical use of V. nilotica to treat genital lesions is substantiated by its antiviral activity against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Materials and methods: The antiviral activity of V. nilotica was tested in vitro by virus-specific inhibition assays using HSV-2 strains, sensible or resistant to acyclovir, HIV-1IIIb strain and HPV-16 pseudovirion (PsV). The potential mode of action of extract against HSV-2 and HPV-16 was further investigated by virus inactivation and time-of-addition assays on cell cultures.

Results: V. nilotica chloroform, methanolic and water bark extracts exerted antiviral activity against HSV-2 and HPV-16 PsV infections; among these, methanolic extract showed the best EC50s with values of 4.71 and 1.80 µg/ml against HSV-2 and HPV-16, respectively, and it was also active against an acyclovir-resistant HSV-2 strain with an EC50 of 6.71 µg/ml. By contrast, no suppression of HIV infection was observed. Investigation of the mechanism of action revealed that the methanolic extract directly inactivated the infectivity of the HPV-16 particles, whereas a partial virus inactivation and interference with virus attachment (EC50 of 2.74 µg/ml) were both found to contribute to the anti-HSV-2 activity.

Conclusions: These results support the traditional use of V. nilotica applied externally for the treatment of genital lesions. Further work remains to be done in order to identify the bioactive components.

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Transitioning from Remote Centre Model to the Mentor-Mentee Model

The existing faculty development programs (ISTE Workshops) offered by T10kT Project, IIT Bombay, was facilitated through a “Hub and Spoke” model. These programs utilize the benefits of synchronous interactions at “Remote Centres” through A-VIEW and asynchronous learning through MOODLE. Till 2016, the T10kT project has conducted 51 training programs benefiting close to 1.36 lakh faculty members across the country. To learn more about the methodology of T10kT programs check this link.

The arrival of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform, IITBombayX, have helped us scale these programs further and also provide flexibility of time and location to the participating faculty.  However, a major disadvantage of utilizing such online platforms is the lack of synchronous interactions. The proposed “Mentor-Mentee” model to be used in the upcoming FDP is aimed at reducing this problem. It is envisioned that participating faculty will be mentored by “Faculty associates” who have already been identified as top performers from the previous edition of these FDPs. These mentors will interact with the mentees both asynchronously (emails, Discussion Forum) and synchronously (A-VIEW/Skype/Hangouts etc) to provide the much-needed personal guidance and feedback. The mentor-mentee associations are also ideal for developing collaborative communities that will support life-long learning for the participating faculty.

More details about the implementation of the model will be updated soon.

Courtesy: IITBombayX

My experience with FDP by IIT Bombay

Four Week AICTE approved Faculty Development Program (FDP) by IIT Bombay on – Use of ICT in Education for Online and Blended Learning is a very unique program.

I have learnt a lot from this FDP. This program has cleared my concepts on Blended Learning and also made me aware of how to use information and computer technology to teach effectively. 

For the first time I have created Screencast of my lecture and published it on YouTube. I also got an opportunity to work on Moodle. This is a very effective teaching-learning tool.

In the discussion forum we share our view on many topics and also learn many new things from our peers. The face-to-face meeting sessions are remarkable as it help us to clear our doubts on many issues. I have personally made connections with many faculties from different Universities / Colleges.

Antiviral properties of Ficus religiosa

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Ficus religiosa L. is one of the most relevant members of the family of Moraceae. It is the most sacred tree of South Asia, and it is used in traditional Ayurvedic and Unani medicine to cure respiratory disorders like cough, wheezing and asthma. Some studies were performed to investigate the anti-asthmatic potential of F. religiosa bark, leaves and fruit extracts but none of them tested their antiviral activity against viruses responsible for the exacerbation of wheezing and asthma. The present study was undertaken to investigate the antiviral activity of F. religiosa L. extracts against respiratory viruses such as human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human rhinovirus (HRV).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The antiviral activity of F. religiosa L. was tested in vitro by plaque reduction and virus yield assays and the major mechanism of action was investigated by virus inactivation and time-of-addition assays.

RESULTS: F. religiosa L. methanol bark extract was the most active against HRV with an EC50 of 5.52 µg/mL. This extract likely inhibited late steps of replicative cycle. Water bark extract was the most active against RSV with an EC50 between 2.23 and 4.37 µg/mL. Partial virus inactivation and interference with virus attachment were both found to contribute to the anti-RSV activity. Replication of both viruses was inhibited in viral yield reduction assays.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the present study demonstrate that F. religiosa L. is endowed with antiviral activity against RSV and HRV in vitro. Further work remains to be done to identify the active components and to assess the therapeutic potential in vivo.

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