Anuradha Dube superannuated as Chief Scientist from CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow in 2015 and is presently working as INSA Senior Scientist and J C Bose Fellow in the same lab. She works in the area of drug development and immunobiology of parasitic infections with a special focus on kala-azar. She has established the only available nonhuman primate model for preclinical evaluation of potential drug/vaccine against visceral leishmaniasis and has contributed to the identification and molecular characterization of leishmanial vital enzymes/proteins with Th1-stimulatory property as potential vaccine targets. Her group has also developed transgenic fluorescent parasite overexpressing green/ red fluorescent protein for drug screening/basic biology and has discovered non-toxic oral antileishmanial compounds from natural resources which could be potential drugs. She has published more than 170 papers in reputed journals and mentored 16 PhDs till date. She is a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (2013) and was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 2015.
Session 1C: Lectures by Fellow/Associates
E Arunan, IISc, Bengaluru
Kala-azar – A neglected disease of poverty: Search for an affordable lasting cure
Kala-azar (KA) or visceral leishmaniasis, a debilitating and potentially fatal disease, is limited to the Indian subcontinent and East Africa. The disease is transmitted anthropologically and results in periodic epidemics. Control measures for KA are heavily dependent on chemotherapy. However, specific antileishmanial drugs are limited, and besides being unaffordable and toxic, are also associated with increasing microbial drug resistance. The depressed immune system of the infected host is also a stumbling block in controlling the disease. By and large, while a small infected population develops clinical symptoms, the majority remains asymptomatic contributing to the spread of the disease. Further, some patients develop post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL), which also plays an important role in KA transmission. These are the major challenges faced by the WHO initiative for the eradication of KA by 2020. The situation calls for a two-pronged strategy – killing the parasite while boosting host immunity – to win the battle against KA.