Chasing the cure (Indian Express)
Mains Paper 2: Health
Prelims level: Alzheimer
Mains level: Key findings about the new Alzheimer’s drug
- For nearly two decades, doctors treating Alzheimer’s patients have been
frustrated by the lack of advance in medical research.
- The most advanced drug that is used to treat the disease was developed
- It was first identified in 1906 by the German physician, Alois
- Drugs currently in use treat the neuro-degenerative disorder
symptomatically at best.
- They leaving doctors almost helpless about elderly patients who may
forget familiar facts and, at times, even the faces of family members.
- The new drug, Oligomannate, a sugar derived from a Chinese seaweed,
works by modifying gut bacteria to reduce inflammation in the brain.
- Green Valley, the Chinese biotech company that has developed the drug.
- A clinical trial on 818 people “demonstrated solid and consistent
cognition improvement among those treated versus a control group”.
- The method adopted by the Chinese researchers is a departure from
Alzheimer’s drug development that has focussed on attacking the plaque that
forms in the brains of patients; this protein build-up interferes with
- Last year, pharma major El Lilly threw in the towel during the final
stages of trials of a drug that targets the plaque accumulation in brain
cells, leading researchers to think of alternate disease pathways — the
microbiome, for instance.
- However there is a good reason for tempering the optimism around the new
- In China, the regulatory agency has asked Green Valley to conduct more
research on Oligomannate’s safety it has, however, allowed the company to
market the drug by the last week of December.
- The complete data on how exactly the cognitive function improved for
patients on the drug versus those on placebo and how meaningful that was in
the patients’ lives is still not known outside select circles in China.
- Oligomannate must be tested on diverse groups of people to be affirmed
as a panacea for Alzheimer’s globally. And, these trials need to include
many more than 818 individuals.
- Once knowledge on the mode of action of the Chinese seaweed spreads
among medical researchers worldwide, more potent compounds could be
developed to target Alzheimer’s people.
Q.1) Solar-powered Aquila drone is being specially designed to
a) Perform surveillance of sensitive areas in Afghanistan after the
withdrawal of USA armed forces.
b) Deliver internet service to remote areas of the world.
c) Transport retail consumer packets to mega corporations in the European
d) Generate solar power and transit it wirelessly to regions facing acute power
Correct Answer: B
Q.1) What is Alzheimer disease? How the new Alzheimer’s drug offers hope for
treating a difficult disease?