• 8 April 2010
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India ranks sixth in Nature Asia-Pacific Publishing Index
Japan, China, and Australia are the top ranking nations in the Nature Asia-Pacific Publishing Index, a website that measures the annual output of research articles from countries and institutions in the Asia Pacific region. India figures at sixth among the 11 Asia-Pacific countries. The number of papers published in Nature journals from India have gone up from just two in 1998 to 18 in 2009, a sharp increase.

India's science ahub from down south tops the list from the country with the National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, ranking at 53 and Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, at 76. The east also figures prominently with two research bodies from Kolkata – the Bose Institute, and the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science – at ranks 77 and 80 respectively. India's research strength, as seen in the index, is evenly balanced between the physical and life sciences.

First ayurvedic drug against swine flu launched in India
V Narayanasamy, the Union Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs, has officially released the new ayurvedic drug, Ayusrem, against swine flu and influenza viruses, in New Delhi, on March 9, 2010.

The drug was developed by Ramoni Research Foundation (RRF), Chennai, with the help of Center for Herbal Sciences, University of Madras, Chennai. Dr K Balasubramanian, an organic chemist and pharmacologist and Dr N Raaman, a botanical scientist and microbiologist were the inventors of Ayusrem. The Food and Drug Authority of Puducherry has given approval for manufacturing this drug and Dr Milton's Laboratory at Puducherry is involved in the production of the drug.
Ayusrem is a wholly-natural, safe and effective preparation that gives resistance against influenza virus, asthma, rhinitis, body pain, common cold and cold-related symptoms. It was developed after many years of research by Ramoni Research Foundation and is a 100 percent authentic herbal formulation that is available as capsules that comprise extracts of 20 medicinal plants used in ayurvedic formulations.

WHO suspends use of Shan5 due to quality issue
The World Health Organization (WHO) has suspended procurement and use of Shan5 vaccine made by India's Shantha Biotechnics, owned by France's Sanofi Aventis. The recommendation by WHO came on March 12.

WHO, which is the biggest buyer of Shantha's vaccines, said that the procurement and use of all lots of the Shan5 vaccine supplied to countries are being suspended pending ongoing investigations over quality issues.

The decision came after officials in Colombia, Nepal and Comoros Islands complained of presence of a white sediment that sticks to the glass of the vaccine vial that is difficult or impossible to re-suspend with vigorous shaking (flocculation). WHO has advised these countries to put any remaining vaccine in quarantine until further notice. If it is confirmed that the country has received shipments of any lot of Shan5 vaccine, the vaccine should not be used until further direction is provided by WHO.

Shantha was awarded a two year $340 mn (Rs 1,534 crore) contract by WHO in September 2009 for the supply of pentavalent vaccine. It is believed the sediment was found in batches supplied as part of this contract.

Sanofi Aventis officials in France said that the suspension is a “precautionary measure pending outcome of an investigation of vaccine quality.”

Underwriters Lab opens new facility in Bangalore  
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), one of the global leaders in product safety testing and certification, has opened its testing facility in Bangalore.

Catering to manufacturers throu-ghout India and the surrounding Asian region, the facility will offer performance, safety and compliance testing for products and provide global market access services to help reduce time-to-market. The laboratory will specialize in product categories including electrical power and controls, appliances, industrial control equipment, lighting, information technology and medical equipment, motors and pumps, and other related categories.

UL invested close to Rs 27.10 crore ($6 mn) to set up the new facility in India. The facility is designed on the basis of specified customer requirements for product performance and developmental testing in addition to safety compliance testing.

SRL launches Sports Gene Test in India  
Super Religare Laboratories has become the first company in India to launch the Sports Gene Test that would help parents know which sport their child is most suited for. The test is simple, non-invasive, and requires no blood test, and only involves buccal swab collection.

Every person has two copies of the ACTN3 gene, one from each parent. The ACTN3 gene essentially produces a protein which helps fast-twitch muscle fibers to produce high energy surges for a short time. The X variant of the ACTN3 gene, however, disables the production of this protein, resulting in deficiency of the protein, leading to absence of energy surge.

The sports gene test helps to understand the sports gene and therby helps to identify the type of sport your child may perform best at.

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