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Gujarat's soil may contain molecules that could help in manufacturing new anti-bacterial and anti-fungal drugs, say scientists from National Innovation Foundation (NIF).

"We are working towards the discovery of new antibiotics from soil samples collected from the conserved areas of Gujarat. After 2 years with the help from Department of Science and Technology (DST), we have identified more than a 100 sources of antibiotics. At least 20 of them are unique. If this molecule is good, then we will start developing it further for a drug discovery," said Vipin Kumar, chief innovation officer at NIF.

Currently in its second year, the project is all set to make inroads into the next phase of R&D as all the research partners will hold a review meet on 22 February,2012 at Delhi with attendance from G. J. Samathanam, Adviser and Head, Technology Development and Transfer Division, DST on the progress till date.

"We have found 7 different bacteria in 2 years of research and are researching if they are known or unknown compounds. The discovery would be of relevance to many pharmaceutical companies who manufacture and market anti-fungal or anti-bacterial drugs," said A K Saxena, chief scientist and principal investigator at CDRI, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow that is partnering with NIF for the research.

"The time required for the whole research to complete could be anywhere between 13 and 14 years," Saxena further added.

City-based NIF has been instrumental in facilitating this two year research initiated in December 2009 with the support of the (DST) who have invested close to Rs 4 crore in the initial funding of the project.

For this research, NIF has partnered with the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow (CDRI), the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh while Karnataka Antibiotics and Pharamaceuticals Limited (KAPL), a Karnataka Government Enterprise which is into manufacturing products for Indian companies and MNC's forms the industry wing.

News Link: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/gujarats-soil-the-new-haven-for-antibiotics/912358/