Staff Reporter

SRM Medical College to host symposium on harmless pathogens

CHENNAI: Harmless micro-organisms in human tissue are being reviewed given the increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS, organ transplantation and anti-cancer therapy. These organisms could cause severe opportunistic infections, challenging doctors who treat such patients, say researchers.

With more cases of tuberculosis and malaria being detected, researchers believe that multi-drug therapy for tuberculosis and malaria is proving unsuccessful. The pathogens were becoming resistant to the drugs and there is a need to find new methods to treat these diseases, they say.

It is to share knowledge and create awareness that SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre at Kattankulathur will hold a three-day international symposium on `Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in the area of immuno-suppression' from Friday.

The symposium, being organised by the Society of Human and Animal Mycologists of India (the Indian body of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology), will have faculty from the U.S., Israel and Singapore besides 16 medical college professors from within the country. The meet will discuss methods to treat infections and diseases such as flu, TB, malaria and HIV/AIDS.

Harmless pathogens were now throwing up new challenges and doctors found it difficult to treat diseases, said O.S.R. Sivaraman, the symposium's organising committee president. Advances in medical treatment, organ transplant surgeries involving donors other than relatives and use of steroid therapy for certain conditions suppressed the immune system with the result that the body succumbed to bacteria and micro-organisms that would, in a healthy human being, not cause much harm.

There is a constant war in the body with pathogens, says Radha Madhavan, a faculty at the college. In certain skin conditions, use of steroids suppresses the cause of the problem along with the immune system, said dermatologist C.M. Pandurangam.

The symposium's organising secretary and chairman are Taralakshmi V. Venugopal and Pankajalakshmi V. Venugopal.