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Drugs mimicking cigarette smoke may help Covid-19 therapy: Study




 Researchers have identified two drugs that mimic the effect of chemicals in cigarette smoke and reduce the ability of SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus causing Covid-19, to enter cells.

The two drugs — 6-formylindolo(3,2-b)carbazole (FICZ) and omeprazole (OMP) mimic cigarette smoke’s effects to bind to a receptor in mammalian cells that inhibits production of ACE2 proteins, a process that appears to reduce the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The findings appear in the journal Scientific Reports.

FICZ is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan, while OMP is a medication already widely used in the treatment of acid reflux and peptic ulcers.

Something of a paradox exists with respect to smoking cigarettes and Covid-19. Active smoking is associated with increased severity of disease, but at the same time, many reports have suggested lower numbers of Covid cases amongst smokers than amongst non-smokers.

“We must stress the presence of strong evidence showing that smoking increases the severity of Covid-19,” said Keiji Tanimoto of Hiroshima University’s Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine. “But the mechanism we discovered here is worth further investigation as a potential tool to fight SARS-CoV-2 infections,” Tanimoto added.

It is known that cigarette smoke contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These can bind to and activate aryl hydrocarbon receptors (AHRs).

The researchers wanted to investigate the effect of drugs that activate AHR on expression of the genes that control production of the ACE2 protein — the infamous receptor protein on the surface of many cell types that works like a lock that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is able to pick. After binding the virus to the ACE2 protein, it can then enter and infect the cell.

The scientists found that those cells originating in the oral cavity, lungs and liver had the highest ACE2 expression. These high-ACE2-expression cells were then subjected to various doses of cigarette-smoke extract for 24 hours.

Further, using RNA sequencing analysis, they found that the cigarette smoke extract and these two drugs — all of which act as activators of AHR — are able to suppress the expression of ACE2 in mammalian cells, and by doing so, reduce the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to enter the cell.

Based on the findings in the lab, the team is now proceeding with pre-clinical and clinical trials on the drugs as a novel anti-Covid-19 therapy.


Mumbai: ‘Don’t Disrespect Our Father’ Supriya Sule Warns BJP




NCP Working President Supriya Sule issued a warning saying ‘disrespect us, but not our father’ while addressing the party gathering in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Slamming the BJP and referring to it as the most corrupt party in the country, she said, “Disrespect us, but not our father (Sharad Pawar). This fight is against the BJP government. BJP is the most corrupt party in the country.”

Supriya Sule hits out at state govt

She also hit out at BJP, Ajit Pawar, and Eknath Shinde-led government and alleged that BJP is using Income Tax, CBI, and Enforcement Directorate to threaten the party MLAs. However, she claimed NCP will give an appropriate answer very soon.

Referring to Ajit Pawar’s advise to Pawar Sr to retire while mentioning his age, Supriya Sule said, “Age is just a number.” She also cited Ratan Tata, Amitabh Bachchan and Cyrus Punawala to prove her argument that a person can be active and work for the society if he has the will to do so.
Striking an emotional chord, Sharad Pawar’s daughter also said that daughters are the best support for a father when it is required.

“Instead of asking them to sit at home and give blessings, daughters are better. They become the support system for their fathers when the house is in danger,” she said.

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Mumbai News: Just 32k Legal Hawkers But Over 1L Availed Loan Scheme




If there are only 32,000 legal hawkers in the city then how come Prime Minister Narendra Modi distributed loans under PM SVANidhi Yojana to more than one lakh hawkers, asked former opposition leader in BMC Ravi Raja. On January 19, 2023, PM Modi distributed a loan of ₹10,000 each to 1.10 lakh hawkers. The grant was provided based on the certificates issued by the BMC.

Ravi Raja fumes over PM Modi

The ex-Congress corporator fumed over the civic body’s decision to allow 32,000 hawkers, who were termed as legal vendors after a survey, to vote in the Town Vending Committee (TVC) election. The committee, which comprises civic chief, representatives from traffic police and various BMC departments, members of hawker association and civic society, plays a crucial role in implementing the rules pertaining to hawkers as well as identifying eligible hawkers. Hence, 32,000 hawkers have been allowed to vote for TVC elections as it’s a question of their livelihood.

Averring that the BMC is “messing up” with the hawkers policy, Raja further said that rules say that 2.5 per cent of the total population can do hawking business.

The BMC is in the process of sending the list of 32,000 hawkers to the labor commissioner for getting their names stamped for TVC election. However, Raja has demanded that the civic administration should wait till the election of corporators, which is long overdue.

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National News

Rescue operations continue for 2nd day to save girl stuck in borewell in MP’s Sehore




Rescue operations were on to save a three-year-old girl who fell into a borewell in Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore, said officials on Wednesday.

The operation has been going on for the past 18 hours after the girl fell in the borewell on Tuesday while she was playing.

“The rescue operation is still underway on the second day,” the Sehore district administration officials said, without elaborating much about the current situation of the girl.

The officials said that the digging of a parallel hole/tunnel was still underway which will take some more time.

The girl, Shristi Kushwaha, was stuck at a depth of 25-30 feet in the 300-ft deep borewell.

Oxygen was being supplied to her and her movements were being monitored through a camera. An official said digging was delayed due to the presence of hard rock.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan directed the district administration to rescue the baby girl.

Earlier, in March this year, a 7-year-old boy fell into a borewell in Vidisha district and was rescued after 24 hours operation jointly by Indian Army and SDRF team, however, by the time the boy was rescued, he had died.

Following which, the state government had ordered the officials to check all the borewells and ensure that all of them are covered. However, no heed was paid to the instruction. In the last one and a half years, nearly half a dozen such incidents were reported in different parts of Madhya Pradesh.

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