In what could be called a significant academic breakthrough, the Department of Chemistry at Assam University, Silchar, has earned its first patent courtesy of the invention of organic photosynthesis, which is an anti-HIV agent presented by Dr Devashish Sengupta and his team in collaboration with the Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology at South Asian University (SAU) in New Delhi.

Elaborating on the patent (bearing number 454199) entitled MESO-TRIS-CARBOXYPHENYLPORPHYRIN FULLERENE ADDUCTS AS ANTI HIV AGENTS, Dr Sengupta, while taking to The Assam Tribune, claimed that under the photodynamic condition, the HIV virus, be it DNA or an RNA virus, gets destroyed. “This groundbreaking study focuses on the capabilities of amphiphilic non-cationic fullerene porphyrin (F-P) dyads in inhibiting HIV-1 under photodynamic (visible light irradiated) conditions. This is a proud breakthrough for treating people afflicted with cancer as well. When HIV patients undergo treatment, they are administered a cocktail of drugs for years just to suppress the virus, which might also lead to various types of cancer. Our claim is that we can treat cancer detected among HIV patients with a synergistic medicine that can defuse any form of drug resistance HIV,” Dr Sengupta mentioned.

Further, Dr Sengupta along with Dr Debdulal Sharma from the university, and Prof. Ritu Gaur and Ms Madhu Rai from SAU, said that they have devised a scalable method for synthesising water-soluble fullerene (CC)-meso-tris- carboxyphenyl porphyrin (F-P) dyads. These dyads have demonstrated outstanding effectiveness in hindering the entry and production of HIV-1 subtypes B and C. “Primates are the only option for conducting in vivo studies and therefore technology transfer is awaited. The encouraging results for anti-cancer treatment in HIV-afflicted patients are the significance of this patent,” Dr Sengupta added. According to Prof. Piyush Pandey,the IQAC coordinator of the university, over 16 patents have been awarded to the university in the last three years. Prof Rajive Mohan Pant, the vice chancellor of the university, has congratulated Dr Sengupta and his team, terming the development as a major strength towards protecting the intellectual property of the varsity.