Dr Mumtaz Naiyer, currently at the University of Southampton, needs no introduction.
A pass-out from Jamia Millia Islamia (Bachelor of Science (BSc), Biotechnology, in 2001 – 2004 and Master’s from Jamia Hamdard, Dr Mumtaz, who stayed in Okhla during his study time, is grabbing headlines as he is part of a team at the University of Southampton that made a significant discovery in efforts to develop a vaccine against Zika, dengue and Hepatitis C viruses.
Moreover, the news has surfaced a time when several deaths were reported from Okhla last year and reports have surfaced of a few deaths this year too, the latest being death of a small girl in Batla House.
Reported sciencedaily.com: Lead researcher Salim Khakoo, Professor of Hepatology, said: “The NS3 helicase protein could be the key in unlocking the defence of lethal viruses that affect so many people around the world. It is very exciting to discover that other viruses similar to Hepatitis C, such as Zika virus, dengue virus, yellow fever virus, Japanese encephalitis virus and in fact all flaviviruses, contain a region within their NS3 helicase proteins that is recognised by exactly the same KIR2DS2 receptor. We believe that by targeting this NS3 helicase region, we could make a new type of vaccine based upon natural killer cells, which can be used to help protect people from these infections.”
The findings of the study funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council which also analysed DNA from more than 300 patients have been termed exciting.
Professor Khakoo said: “Cancer treatments that use the body’s own immune system are becoming more common. Our findings present a completely new strategy for virus therapeutics which could be easily translated into the field of cancer. The next few years are going to be very exciting in this field.”
Dr Mumtaz Naiyer is originally from Bihar’s Kishanganj.
“This is a well-presented study and a significant advancement in this field that identifies the important role of the receptor KIR2DS2. Since I come from India, which has thousands of cases of dengue each year, I can understand the suffering of patients with dengue. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to ease the suffering of these dengue-affected patients,” said Dr Mumtaz Naiyer, the first author of the paper, in a statement as reported by Indian Express.