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Indian Scientists Unlock Preterm Birth Mystery

Indian researchers have made a major discovery by understanding the mechanisms by which preterm births (between 28 and 32 weeks of gestation) occur. 
•    At 35 per cent, India accounts for the highest burden of preterm births in the world.
•    The researchers found for the first time that gram-positive Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria produce small balloons called membrane vesicles, which contain toxins that kill both foetal and maternal cells and destroy the collagen that binds the cells together.
•    The team was led by Professor Anirban Banerjee from the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Bombay, and Dr. Deepak Modi from Mumbai’s National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health. 
•    The results were published on September 1 in the journal PLOS Pathogens.
•    Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria are normally found in human vagina and their numbers can shoot up in some pregnant women. 
•    The GBS bacteria have been associated with premature rupture of amniotic membrane and preterm birth.

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