Six years of path-breaking medical research has borne fruit. India will soon have its own drug to treat bacterial infection or gangrene in deeper wounds. So far, the drugs had to be imported from overseas at exorbitant prices.
The state-run Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited has developed a 'mixed anti-gas gangrene' drug which will be used to treat patients susceptible to gangrene. After six years of research, a team of scientists from Haffkine submitted its research report to the department of biotechnology in 2012. After analysing the research and pumping in Rs1.4 crore for a more detailed study, they created the product to prevent and treat gangrene. The product has got all the necessary permissions, including those from the Food and Drug Administration, to be launched in the market. It is likely to be available within a year.
"This product will be useful in treating all kinds of bacterial infection which are responsible for gangrene. It will be a lot cheaper than the drugs we use at present to treat the disease," said Sambhaji Zhende, managing director, Haffkine Bio-Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited. "It is great news that now an Indian company has its own product to treat gangrene," said Dr Ajay Bhandarwar, senior surgeon and professor, general surgery department, at JJ Hospital.
The patient needs to be injected with the "gas gangrene antitoxin" drug to stop the spread of infection. People who suffer from diabetes, blood vessel disease, colon cancer, frostbite or open fractures can develop gangrene, which is essentially the death of body tissue. Gas gangrene, also known as clostridial myonecrosis, is a fast-spreading and potentially life-threatening form of gangrene caused by bacterial infection. The infection causes toxins to release gas, which leads to the death of tissues.
"A patient with symptoms of gas gangrene must seek emergency medical attention immediately. Delaying treatment can lead to shock, kidney failure and coma. Also, in some cases, it can result in the amputation of the infected body part," said Dr Bhandarwar.
Gas gangrene can develop anywhere in the body, but it is mostly common in arms and legs. Its symptoms include swelling, blisters that contain gas bubbles near the area of infections, increased heart rate and high fever. Skin in the affected area often turns from pale to brownish-red. Treatment may include antibiotics and surgery to remove the dead tissue.