Posts Tagged ‘medicine’

Almost every Muslim is seriously concerned about what he or she eats. There is a complete code of dietary laws present in the Holy Quran for the followers of Islam. Some basic principles are described as all foods are permitted except those mentioned clearly in the Holy Quran. The most recent advancements of biotechnology in field of food industry like status of GMO’s, use of genes, enzymes, food additives or enhancer in food in Islam deduced by the Ijma or Qiyas. These if obtained from plant origin would be considered as Halal. If obtained from animals then Islamic Shari’ah put some restrictions about the animal that it should be permitted by Supreme law giver, and should be fit, clean and wholesome for health. The Muslim consumers should be particular and sensitive to the products they use for the Halal or haram issue. The recent advancements and impact of these advancements upon status of divine dietary law is very important. Reason for Muslims to observe these dietary laws are to follow the Divine Commandments.

“O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome on earth…..” (Quran 2:168)

Principle for Halal food:
Halal means permissible and lawful while Haram means prohibited. It is exactly opposite of Halal. In general, every food is allowed for Muslims except what is prohibited either by the Holy Quran or by the Hadith. These rules of Shari’ah (Islamic law) bring freedom of choice for people to eat and drink anything they like as long as it is not haram (prohibited).

Alcohol and other intoxicants are also prohibited as:

“O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance, and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed” (Quran 5: 90)

Blood, pork, and the meat of dead animals or those immolated to other than God are strongly prohibited. It is also ordered that Halal animals should be slaughtered while uttering the name of Allah at the time of slaughter.
“Eat of that over which the name of Allah hath been mentioned, if ye are believers in His revelations” (Quran 6: 118)

“And eat not of that whereon Allah’s name hath not been mentioned, for lo! It is abomination. Lo! The devils do inspire their minions to dispute with you. But if ye obey them, ye will be in truth idolaters” (Quran 6: 121).

Genetic modifications (Use of gene):
The status of the process of genetic modification is controversial. According to some Muslim scholars and jurisprudence the process of altering some physical traits or nature created by Almighty is sin as it is mentioned in Quran clearly.

“….assuredly I will incite them and they will cut the ears of cattle; and assuredly I will incite them and they will alter Allah’s creation.” And he who takes Satan for a friend beside Allah has certainly suffered a manifest loss.” (Quran 4:119)

So according to this verse the alteration is not permitted as God is Supreme Power and Creator and no one can or would interfere with His power. Here two thoughts arise:
• Either alteration is just for alteration purposes (No purpose except beauty like in cosmetics or face surgery)
• Or alteration is for some useful purpose (For welfare of humankind) but it does not harm nature or other creatures.
Genetic modifications are permitted by some group of thoughts as these things are not mentioned clearly in the Holy Quran or Hadith (Traditions of Prophet Muhammad) because these are recent advancements. By the Qiyas and Ijma with some limitations it is allowed. Genetic modifications that especially are an issue of concern can be categorized as:

• From animals to plants and vice versa
• From insects to plants
• From animals to animals

Gene products (Enzymes):
Enzymes can be taken from animals, plants and microorganism also. They can be Halal or haram depending upon the source. If the source is Halal then they are considered as Halal as long as animal is slaughter according to Islamic Shari’ah, if not then enzyme will be mashbooh (doubtful). For example pepsin/proteases and catalyses are extracted from cattle/pig’s stomach and bovine liver respectively.

Halal is the dietary laws for Muslims. So the food industry needs to understand the requirements for producing products for Muslim markets. It also needs to understand the import requirements of countries with Muslim populations, which cover religious as well as safety aspects of imported food. The Halal foods should be mentioned clearly by labeling the hidden food ingredients. The Muslim scholars need to infer opinions with the advancement of biotechnology.

1. Khattak, J.Z.K., Asif M., Zubair, A., Hussain, M.W., Ghulam, A., Haider, K.K., Humaira, I., 2011. Concept of halal food &Biotechnology, Advanced Journal of Food Science and Technology, 3(5): 385-389.

2. Mathewson, P.R., 1998. Major biological sources of enzymes (Appendix C), in Enzymes, Eagan Press, St.Paul, MN, pp: 93-95.

3. Pickthall, M.M., 1994. Arabic text and English rendering of The Glorious Quran, Library of Islam, Kazi Publications, Chicago, IL.

AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is a disease caused by the virus known as HIV-1 (Human immunodeficiency Virus Type One). The HIV attacks the body’s immune system by destroying certain types of white blood cells (CD4+) called lymphocytes that help the body fight infection. A person with HIV infection may appear and feel healthy for many years. When someone is HIV-positive, that person has HIV antibodies in his or her body. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to fight germs or infections Research suggests that the average incubation period from infection with HIV to the development of AIDS is approximately 10 years.

How do you get HIV?
HIV is transmitted through the bodily fluids of an individual carrying the virus. These bodily fluids are blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. HIV can be transmitted in the following ways:

• Through the exchange or intake of blood, semen, or vaginal fluids while having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who is HIV-positive.

• By sharing needles used to draw tattoos, give blood, or pierce ears or by sharing syringes used to inject illegal or prescribed drugs with someone who is HIV positive.

• Through perinatal transmission – when a HIV positive woman transmits the virus to her fetus during pregnancy to her baby while breast-feeding.

How HIV infects the body?
It is only now that scientists have learned how HIV infects the body. They have realized that it works in two phases, the M-tropic phase and the T-tropic phase, and that it looks for receptor sites to bond to. CCR5, a chemokine, is the second receptor site for HIV-1 in the M-tropic phase. Here is given the Process of HIV Replication (animation) in below:

HIV Replecation

HIV epidemiology in Bangladesh:
The first case of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh was detected in 1989. Since then 1495 cases of HIV/AIDS have been reported (as of December 2008). However UNAIDS estimates that the number of people living with HIV in the country may be as high as 12,000, which is within the range of the low estimate by UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report 2009.
The number of AIDS patients has been on the rise in Bangladesh at a fast pace. Data from the country’s Health Ministry revealed that some 445 new HIV positive cases and 251 AIDS patients were detected in 2011. It showed 343 new HIV positives and 231 AIDS cases in 2010 while the number of new HIV positives was 250 and AIDS cases were 143 in 2009 & Some 37 people died of AIDS in 2010.
The overall prevalence of HIV in Bangladesh is less than 1%, however, high levels of HIV infection have been found among injecting drug users (7% in one part of the capital city, Dhaka). Due to the limited access to voluntary counseling and testing services, very few Bangladeshi’s are aware of their HIV status. Although still considered to be a low prevalence country, Bangladesh remains extremely vulnerable to an HIV epidemic, given its dire poverty, overpopulation, gender inequality and high levels of transactional sex. The emergence of a generalized HIV epidemic would be a disaster that poverty-stricken Bangladesh could ill-afford. It is estimated that without any intervention the prevalence in the general adult population could be as high as 2% in 2012 and 8% by 2025.

Medicinal plants as traditional medicine against HIV:
Traditional medicinal knowledge has been a means towards the discovery of many modern medicines. Traditional healers’ indigenous knowledge can help pinpoint medicinal plants used to manage HIV/AIDS. Bangladesh has a rich history of several traditional medicinal systems, among whom the most notable ones are the Ayurvedic, Unani, and the folk medicinal systems. Regarding HIV/AIDS related infections, many people think that using modern medicine is of no use, rather using traditional medicine or spiritual effects can help in this case.
The inclusion of anti-HIV ethnomedicines and other natural products in official HIV/AIDS policy is an extremely sensitive and contentious issue. many HIV-infected persons have access to antiretroviral drugs, but some still use ethnomedicinal plants and other natural products to treat opportunistic infections and offset side-effects from antiretroviral medication. Medicinal plants and other natural products including mushrooms are used as primary treatment for HIV-related problems such as skin disorders, nausea, depression, insomnia, and body weakness. Herbal medicines provide rational means for the treatment of many diseases that are obstinate and incurable in western systems of medicine. Phytomedicines are regaining patient acceptance because they have fewer side effects, are relatively less expensive, are easy to use and have a long history of use. Medicinal effects of plants tend to normalize physiological function and correct the underlying cause of the disorder. Sub-Saharan Africa has rich plant biodiversity and a long tradition of medicinal use of plants with over 3,000 species of plants used as medicines. Several of these plants may contain novel anti-HIV compounds. Indigenous knowledge of medicinal plant use also provides leads towards therapeutic concept thereby accelerating drug discovery; this is now being called reverse pharmacology. Thus, it is important to search for novel antiretroviral agents which can be added to or replace the current arsenal of drugs against HIV.
Some evidences with links:

a) A chemical from the Astragalus root, frequently used in Chinese herbal therapy, can prevent or slow progressive telomere shortening, which could make it a key weapon in the fight against HIV.
Chemical From Medicinal Plants May Be Used To Fight HIV

b) Genetically modified tobacco plants can grow specific proteins that scientists know will act on the HIV virus.
Fighting HIV in developing countries – with tobacco