U.S. patent for Indian innovation

NEW DELHI JULY 3. The United States Patent and Trade Office has granted a patent for an Indian innovation, which has proved that cow's urine can make antibiotics, anti-fungal agents and also anti-cancer drugs more effective.

The patent has been granted to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research for the product, the result of the research conducted by CSIR's Centre for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Lucknow, in collaboration with Gau Vigyan Anusandan Kendra (Cow-related Scientific Research Centre), Nagpur.

Announcing this, the Union Science and Technology Minister, Murli Manohar Joshi, acclaimed it as a major breakthrough. The cow's urine had been described as a substance or secretion with innumerable therapeutic values in ancient medical texts such as the `Sushruta Samhita' and the `Asthanga Sangraha'. The innovation would help reduce the dosages of the drugs, thus cutting down on the costs of treatment and also its side effects.

The tests conducted before the patent was applied for included experiments with Taxol, an anti-cancer drug. The distillate, which was produced by the Nagpur centre, was found to increase the drug's activity manifold. Taxol is used in the treatment of breast cancer. The other drugs, which were experimented upon, included ampicillin, tetracyclin and rifampicin, an anti-TB agent.

Clarifying that the patent was not for cow's urine per se, but for pharmaceutical compositions containing antibiotics, anti-fungal and anti-cancer agents in a mixture with a distillate of cow's urine, scientists associated with the research said that further work was on to obtain purified isolates and to determine the mechanism of action. Animal tests and clinical trials would follow.

Dr. Joshi launched a journal of the CSIR's National Institute of Science Communication, which would be exclusively devoted to aspects of traditional knowledge. The journal, which will be brought out once in three months, would carry original research papers and review articles. The Minister also released a vision document prepared by the Department of Ocean Development, which delineates a perspective plan to promote ocean science, and support technology development to continuously upgrade the level of understanding of both local and remote ocean-related processes.

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