All Women IIT Researchers Team Develop Novel Anti-fungal Strategy

Prof. Archana Chugh leads an all-female team of IIT Delhi researchers in developing a novel antifungal strategy for fungal eye infections.

Aashna Jain
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All Women IIT Team
All Women IIT Team: Six Female Delhi scientists led by Professor Archana Chugh have developed a unique antifungal strategy as a cure for fungal eye infection.

In an effort to develop and devise a better antifungal strategy for fungal keratitis, the all-women team with PhD students have come up with a novel peptide-based antifungal strategy. The strategy will aim to enhance Natamycin penetration. It showed appreciable efficacy in the lab, as per reports.

The team comprises Dr Shikha Yadav, Dr Aastha Jain, Harsha Rohira, and Sujithra Shankar and Dr Sushmita G Shah. As per an official release by the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India has a massive agrarian population that is prone to vegetative trauma while agricultural activities.  Vegetative trauma to the eyes is contributed by infected matter in vegetables. It is not uncommon for these conditions to lead to fungal infections of the cornea or fungal keratitis.

The Team’s Reaction On The Achievement

Prof Archana Chugh, who belongs to the Kusuma School of Biological Sciences, IIT Delhi, said in a statement that, “the peptides are known to carry molecules with the cells. Consequently, when poorly permeable Natamycin is attached to the peptide, the formed compound showed a better antifungal effect.”

She further added that this is a great example of Make in India. However, before the conjugates can be deemed useful for the patients, “a few hurdles persist”.

Dr Sushmita G Shah, who is an Ophthalmologist and Cornea Eye Specialist at the Eye Life hospital in Mumbai believes that collaboration among clinicians and scientists is important to develop newer and better drugs and diagnosis techniques. “We are very excited with the results obtained so far,” added Dr Shah.

According to the press release, the research was initially supported by the Department of Biotechnology and then by Nanomission, the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India.

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