Chemistry: An Indispensable tool to understand coronavirus from its transmission to treatment

Chemistry-based research from the laboratory to industries are progressing their efforts towards discovering more about the virus, developing improved testing technologies, and eventually discovering drugs to treat the disease. Chemistry as the subject of practice in every step of life is essential at every step of our response to contain the virus. Scientists throughout the world are involved in evolving new diagnostic methods to be deployed for the SARS-CoV-2 identification including optical biosensors and point-of-care diagnostics. 

In spite of an immensely disrupted class routine, there will surely be thousands of students going on to study and work in chemistry in the years to come. Through this blog, we are trying to document the chemical science community’s role in response to the recent outbreak of coronavirus. 

COVID-19 disease transmission route inspired by Gas-Phase Chemistry: 

The person-to-person spread of infectious respiratory diseases like COVID-19 occurs primarily due to the transference of virus-laden fluid particles from the diseased person. The infectious fluid particles instigate from the respiratory tract of the person and are ejected from the nose and the mouth during breathing, speaking, whistling, sneezing, and coughing etc. These particles have been broadly classified into two types: aerosols (aerodynamic particle size <5 μm) and droplets (aerodynamic particle size ≥5 μm–10 μm). The outcomes indicated that the transmission phenomena of these virus particles ejected by patients would be dependent on droplet sizes. Once expelled from the mouth or nose, bigger respiratory droplets endure gravitational subsiding before evaporation; in contrast, the smaller droplet particles evaporate faster than they settle down, afterwards forming the aerosolized droplet nuclei that can be deferred for prolonged periods and foldaway in the air over long distances. Investigations by Bourouiba et al. have shown that these droplets can travel rather large distances initially within a turbulent jet, which later transition to a puff or a cloud due to the lack of a continuous momentum source. Depending on the ambient conditions and droplet size, these droplets evaporate at different times. Chemical kinetics-based model i.e. the application of Lattice Boltzmann Method with Brownian dynamics to access the effects of nanoparticles at the liquid-vapour interface of an evaporating sessile droplet can be coupled with of evaporation, dispersion and precipitation to devise a hitherto new methodology to predict the infection spread in the context of COVID-19. 

All most all investigations have found that SARS-CoV-2 virus stability monotonically decreases with an increase in temperature. It has also been found that the enveloped viruses like SARS-CoV-2 survive well in droplets far from their dried state, as well as in the desiccated residue where the virus remains in a frozen state, these shreds of evidence prove that virus survivability within desiccated nuclei enables the virus to be airborne. To prove these, chemists have used 1% (w/w) NaCl aqueous solution as a substitute respiratory fluid and 100nm fluorescent particles as a stand-in virus, whose concentration was controlled from 0.005 to 0.1%. Featured basic mechanism in particle deposition in water-based solutions explained in these studies can be extended to pathogens, the dynamics in respiratory droplets are more involved due to the physicochemical complexities and the resulting variation in thermo-physical properties. 

Role of synthetic chemists in the development of drugs  

The development of antibiotics was one of the most important scientific innovations of the twentieth century, as it drastically reduced the threat of bacterial infections. Though the early antibiotics era was characterized by fully synthetic compounds (e.g., sulfonamides and organoarsenicals) and was largely pioneered by industrial chemists, the modern era of natural product-based antibiotics witnessed significant contributions from academia. Penicillin V  and vancomycin provide two examples where synthetic chemists have made impactful, translational contributions by pursuing fundamental research interests. In this time of pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, chemists from worldwide are trying their best to delineate different drugs to annihilate this virus.  the antiviral drugs commonly used in clinical practice to treat viral infections are not applicable to SARS-Cov-2. Thus, it is very necessary to identify new drugs suitable for the treatment of the 2019-nCoV outbreak 

Nanotrap: Chemists from the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering have designed an entirely novel potential treatment for COVID-19: nanoparticles that apprehend SARS-CoV-2 viruses within the body and then use the body’s own immune system to annihilate it. 

These “Nanotraps” entice the virus by imitating the marked cells the virus infects. When the virus muddles to the Nanotraps, the traps then impound the virus from other cells and target it for annihilation by the immune system. 

In theory, these Nanotraps could also be used on variants of the virus, leading to a potential new way to constrain the virus moving forward. Though the therapy remains in the early stages of testing, the researchers envision it could be administered via a nasal spray as a treatment for COVID-19. 

HTCC: An antiviral potential of the polymer HTCC [N-(2-hydroxypropyl)-3-trimethylammonium chitosan chloride], which efficiently hampered infection of all low-pathogenicity human coronaviruses in vitro and ex vivo.  The hydrophobically-modified derivative (HM-HTCC) acts as potent inhibitors of the coronavirus HCoV-NL63.  we show It has been investigated as that HTCC inhibits interaction of a virus with its receptor and thus blocks the entrySynthetic chemists are trying to delineate the process through which the HTCC interferes with the virus replication. The photophysical study of HTCC labelled with FITC in water were measured in the absence and in the presence of various concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein S1 domains to understand the effectivity of HTCC. 

Application of polymer chemistry to contain SARS-CoV 2: 

Polyelectrolytes: The surface of such envelope virus is found to be rich in amino acid residues. Therefore, polyanions may be used to electrostatically bind to the spike (S) glycoprotein, which binds to the ACE2 protein as an important step in host cell invasion and prevent the virus from interacting with the host cell’s surface. Thus, polyanions and polycations can be used to potentially interrupt the binding between the virus and host cell. As examples, Poly(propylacrylic acid), poly(vinylbenzoic acid) (PVBzA), poly(vinylphosphonic acid) (PVPA), and poly(2-acrylamidoethyl)phosphate may be developed as bio-compatible to exhibit this inhibitory effect. 

Dendritic Polymer: Dendritic or highly branched polymers that possess greater solubilities, larger surface areas, and tuneable shapes are being investigated to hinder the virus and cell binding. These types of polymers are being designed to be non-toxic and bio-compatible thus they can act as co-receptor and subsequently, mediate the entry of the SARS-CoV2 virus to the host cells. 

Natural Polymer: Natural polymers like  polysaccharides, cyclodextrins (CDs) and chitosan are reported to inhibit the attachment of coronavirus to host cells because of their ability to remove cholesterol from cell membranes. These polymers can inhibit the replication of the virus in the host cell.  Moreover, polysaccharides can activate T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, and other immune cells to improvise an advantageous immune response to inhibit the virulent effect. It is worthy to mention here that natural polymers inherently possess greater biocompatibility compared to synthetic polymers, which serves as one of the major factor for their applicability as potential drugs. 

Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 virus has caused a global health crisis with high rates of infection and mortality. However, in existing treatment programmes, there are latent drawbacks such as they are time-consuming and full proof. It is hoped that the chemists along with scientists & technologists from interdisciplinary branches throughout the world will develop better model and drugs in the near future and move toward clinical treatment as soon as possible. More clinical trials with these suitable drugs should be performed on patients affected by SARS-CoV-2 of different mutant strains to prove their efficacy and safety. Not only chemists, but it’s a team’s of scientists of all spheres and philosophers’ activity towards investigation how the system can be used to help medical professionals treat patients more effectively.  

As a chemist, we have learned that we are very resilient and have discovered our extra efficacies in terms of serving the people, we may not have found had this pandemic not happened. 

References: 

  1. KuritzkesD.R. Drug resistance in HIV-1. Curr. Opin. Virol. 2011;1:582–589. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2011.10.020. 
  2. TannockG.A., Kim H., Xue L. Why are vaccines against many human viral diseases still unavailable; an historic perspective? J. Med. Virol. 2020;92:129–138. 
  3. KC GB, Bocci G, Verma S. et al. A machine learning platform to estimate anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities.
  4. ToturaA.L., Bavari S. Broad-spectrum coronavirus antiviral drug discovery. Expet Opin. Drug Discov. 2019;14(4):397–412. 
  5. LiowS.S., Chee P.L., Owh C., Zhang K., Zhou Y., Gao F., Lakshminarayanan R., Loh X.J. Cationic poly ([R]-3-hydroxybutyrate) copolymers as antimicrobial agents. Macromol. Biosci.  
  6. Lin Q., Lim J.Y.,Xue K., Yew P.Y.M., Owh C., Chee P.L., Loh X.J. Sanitizing agents for virus inactivation and disinfection. View. 2020 

Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology: A Guide to Skilled Technicians

What is Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology (BSc MLT) Program?
Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology (BSc MLT) is an undergraduate course of 3 years, which is divided into six semesters (two semesters per academic year). It is a paramedical program that offers practical and theoretical knowledge related to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various kinds of ailments and health problems through various clinical laboratory tests. Students will get an exposure regarding how to perform the analysis of different body fluids during their course of study which includes haematological, bacteriological, immunological, chemical, histopathological and microscopical evaluation.

 

Admission Criteria:
Students must have scored a minimum of 55% marks in their higher secondary examination in science stream and should have Physics, Chemistry and Biology or Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology as their compulsory subjects in 12th standard to be eligible for admission. Adamas University offering BSc MLT courses provides admission to the students on the basis of entrance examination conducted by the institute. However, students are also eligible for direct admission based on merit.

 

Objectives:
The main objective of the course is to provide a comprehensive knowledge to the students with respect to various techniques of testing that are conducted as a part of diagnosis of various diseases such as blood test, blood typing, urine analysis and other tests without any errors. The course includes the study of diagnosing a disease by utilizing a clinical laboratory. It also involves a proper analysis of the reports of laboratory tests required to treat a particular disease using the best medical procedures and facilities. In the modern era of medical science, treatment for any disease is completely reliant on the diagnostic tests performed in the laboratory. This highlights the significance of this program in the medical and health sector. For various job positions after completion of this course, the average annual salary ranges from INR 2 Lakhs to 6 lakhs per annum. However, the salary keeps on increasing with experience and expertise.

 

Course Highlights:
• Program- Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology
• Abbreviation- BSc MLT
• Level- Graduate
• Duration- 3 year
• Eligibility- 10+2 from any recognized education board
• Admission Process- Entrance exam and merit-based
• Possible Job Positions- Medical Laboratory Technician, Medical Laboratory Technologist, Clinical Laboratory Technician, Lab Technologist, Biochemist, Phlebotomist, Medical Phlebotomist, Clinical Laboratory Technologist, etc.
• Expected Average Salary- INR 2 lakhs to 6 lakhs per annum.

 

Why study BSc MLT?
BSc MLT is one of the perfect courses for those students who want to make themselves skilled professionals in medical field because in this course the students will go through the relevant training and gain the required skill set to work efficiently in medical sector. Medical science is one of the finest areas which is in high demand and a career in the same is chosen by candidates with an interest in the healthcare sector. Medical lab technicians play a crucial role in the conduction of various activities related to the diagnostic and pathology laboratories. BSc MLT syllabus consists of subjects that inculcate the skills in the students required to handle advanced equipments so as to perform accurate laboratory tests. This course empowers the students to go for various educational, hospital, governmental sectors as they can run a laboratory, consultancy services as well as health care centres. This enables the graduates to opt for higher degree programs in various specializations which can include any of the following:
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Nuclear Medicine Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Imaging Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Nuclear Medicine Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Lab Technology
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Lab Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Technology.
• Master of Science (M. Sc) in Medical Imaging Technology.

 

Scope:
Graduates have immense opportunities to establish their career in different spheres after completion of the course. The academic and technical proficiencies of the technician determine the job opportunities in this area. Graduates have numerous scope of working as Phlebotomist, Medical Laboratory Technologist, Clinical Laboratory Technician, Lab Technologist, Biochemist and Medical Phlebotomist, Clinical Laboratory Technologist, Medical Laboratory Technician. A skilled and efficient graduate in this field is liable to acquire challenging positions in different hospitals in public or private sectors such as emergency centres, blood donor centres, laboratories, etc.

 

The scope of this course is very wide. After BSc MLT course, candidates have ample of great opportunities in many fields anywhere in the world. The scope linked to the course includes the following:
• A career in this field is amongst the most challenging and satisfying careers in today’s market. Everyday, a technician/technologist gets to learn something new, which is great for their career.
• A number of Medical Laboratory Technicians can find employment in pathology labs, research labs, urology labs, pharmaceutical sector, hospitals and in many other areas.
• Apart from the above opportunities, an aspirant can also pursue a career in the education field as a lecturer. With passing years, the course has multiplied in terms of what a student learns during the course, thereby multiplying the scope as well. The scope has significantly expanded and a number of opportunities have been on the rise.
• The Medical Laboratory Technology field includes areas such as blood banking, clinical chemistry, haematology, immunology, microbiology, cytotechnology, urine analysis, blood sampling, etc. There are innumerable fields that can serve as suitable career options for the graduates.
• BSc MLT provides ample job opportunities in the healthcare sector. Every hospital and healthcare sector needs clinical lab technicians to detect problems and diseases affecting the patients. Hence, it is creating more job opportunities for the graduates of BSc MLT. Medical Laboratory Technology profession has a positive impact on people’s health.

Choosing career during challenging time!

What do we learn from a challenging situation like this? Well, one of the take-home messages for all of us that by taking appropriate measure one can fight an adverse situation and turn it into a favourable one. Likewise, you need to take charge of the career of the ward and turn it into a successful one. The definition of “success” being debatable, you all must try to do something which leaves footprints on the path of development of society through technological breakthroughs.

 What is the best in you?

 The most common question one face during his school days is probably “what do you want to become in your life?”. It is asked with the intention to support your career. The most common applauded answer is probably as per traditional mindset such as doctor or engineer. But is it the only question that one should ask? Let’s take a lesson from the life of accomplished people. If we look at the life of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Acharya J. C. Bose, Prof. C. V. Raman, Prof. Homi Bhabha, our president Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, then we find they are all known for their work and contribution towards society. They are not merely recognized by the career they choose. It’s their intention and actions rather than career options. Whichever field you choose, making an impact is most important.

So, you can say to your child, “what do you want to do in your life” is a more basic and pertinent question rather than “what do you want to become in your life”. If you concentrate on that question and explore what you want to do in our life then it would tell you what stream you should choose, what career you should choose and many more.

It is not an easy question and takes time to find an answer. The most common guiding line by the seniors is “pursue your dreams”. But dreaming without full information about the future possibilities is not an option you should go for!! In today’s world, where the job market and job roles are changing so fast, you should choose a stream that offers flexibility. Flexibility in terms of further study areas and flexibility in the career options. Science is the only stream that has the potential and diversity to offer this much flexibility.

Why Basic Science still today?

I hope, there is no doubt whatsoever in anyone’s mind about the importance and usefulness of basic science, even today! In fact, all the aspects of the development of humankind is marked by the progress of science. Because today’s science will create tomorrow’s technology. So, the question is not really about the utility of science but the prospect of a career in science. Somehow one misconception is there in the mind of common people that there is a limited job available to students of science disciplines. But in reality, this is just the opposite. If you take the example of any advanced country then the economic model they are following is that of the knowledge economy.

This knowledge economy is propelled by the rapid advancement of scientific innovation. Rapid innovation in science is only possible if you have a skilled workforce capable of carrying out cutting edge scientific research. In India, slowly and steadily we are also moving towards a knowledge-based economy. That is why one can see every company has its own dedicated R&D wing which seeks to employ thousands of employees trained in science. India’s transition to a knowledge-based economy is also reflected through various government initiatives like Atal Innovation Mission, Startup India etc. But that is about the high-end job. Traditional jobs like jobs in the government sector, teaching job in schools, Colleges and Universities and private sectors mostly employ people from science background. So we can say if you are talking about a job in science then it is limited only by your imagination. The possibility is limitless.

School of Basic and Applied Science (SOBAS) at Adamas University is committed to delivering quality education in science and applied areas of Science and at the same time to create world-class scientific knowledge.

To meet our objectives, we have created an ecosystem that focuses on three main areas:

(i) Teaching-Learning pedagogy (ii)  Intellectual capital (iii) Infrastructure.

Let us briefly tell you about the features of these three areas:

(i) Process of delivering education:

  • Outcome-Based Education followed in major National and International Universities.
  • Choice Based Credit System for all programs.
  • Freedom to Choose an area of Specialization based on individual choice in Postgraduate program.
  • Regular monitoring of Syllabi by renowned external experts from Academia and Industry.
  • Learner-centric pedagogies.
  • Healthy Student-faculty ratio.
  • Equal attention to Theory as well Practical classes.
  • Uninterrupted class in every situation including pandemic (Online class, Smart Lab)
  • D2P: Every student (UG & PG) is encouraged to publish their dissertation in reputed peer-reviewed journals.
  • Academic & Industry Internship program in reputed organizations.
  • Number of Value Added Courses
  • Co-curricular Activities like National & International Conferences in Technical collaboration with reputed International Publishing Houses like IOPScience, Elsivier, Springer, AIP Publishing etc. , Seminars, Webinars, Field visits etc.
  • Various Extra-curricular Activities through different club activities like Writer’s club, Environmental Club, Film Club, Dance Club etc.
  • Adamas Comprehensive Excellence (ACE) scorecard to track the holistic growth & development of each student – regular monitoring by individual mentor
  • Special classes for competitive academic examinations (JAM, NET, GATE)
  • Special guidance for higher studies in abroad through Study Abroad Program
  • Special guidance for entrepreneurial & innovation activities through SOBAS Innovation & Incubation cell
  • Improvements of soft skills through various programs organized by Career Development Cell (CDC).
  • Regular career guidance and campus interviews organized by Career Development Cell
  • Single window grievance cell for students through SOBAS care.

(ii) Intellectual capital

  • Experienced Faculty Members with specializations in a wide range of Science & Applied science subjects.
  • Publication with major International journals
  • Experience in conducting high-quality research in India & abroad.
  • Experience in conducting sponsored research from Government agencies & Industry.
  • Regular update of knowledge through various Faculty Development programs, online courses.
  • Knowledge exchange and research collaboration through physical/online seminars, academic visits

(iii) Infrastructure

  • Smart Classroom with projector facilities
  • State of the Art Laboratories
  • High-End Computation Facility with many software like Mathematica, Matlab, R, Python, QGIS, SAGA, GIS, tnt MIPS etc.
  • The flexibility of conducting activities through online/offline mode.
  • Digital infrastructure like Canvas, Smart Lab, TCSion, Microsoft Teams, digital tablets etc.

Currently, we are running our programs through six domains – Chemistry, Environmental Science, Forensic sciences, Geography, Mathematics & Physics. Various Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Doctoral courses offered by these departments can be accessed through our website – https://science.adamasuniversity.ac.in/. Also, any queries regarding our school can be addressed to sobascare@adamasuniversity.ac.in.

Finally, to all our prospective students we would like to say, we harvest knowledge in its pure form, come join us in our quest and try to make a difference in tomorrow’s world!