KILLING ARTHRITIS: Celebrex, a new type of painkiller for arthritis patients, has been approved by the US government. Celebrex is the first new class of painkillers called "cox-2inhibitors" that promises to cause fewer stomach-plaguing side effects than many current pain relievers. But the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dealt a blow to the company, G D Searle. It approved the sale of Celebrex as an option to relieve arthritis pain. However, it added that there was no proof that Celebrex will help patients with stomach problems. "I am disappointed at the FDA's stand on this," said a spokesperson of Celebrex.

WASTE MANAGEMENT: Entec Austria will provide anaerobic process technology to the government of Orissa for solid waste management programme in Bhubaneshwar. The Rs 60 crore project will be implemented by Bhubaneshwar Municipal Corporation. This will be the seventh such project in the country. The project will be implemented by Bbubaneshwar-based Varun Finance and Technology Consultant Limited.

TREATING AIDS: Researchers in Calcutta have extracted an immunity boosting protein from a killer bacteria which may eliminate toxic side-effects in treatment of AIDS. Christened "protein-a", the wonder substance was extracted from cell walls of the deadly staphylococcus auras bacteria by immunologists at the Bose Institute in Calcutta. Strains of the staph bug, which causes food-poisoning, boils, abscess and wound infections were found to ameliorate side-effects of powerful medicines in mice by producing a lot of nitric acid inside their cells," said Parasata Ray, the director of the Immunotechnology Department of the Institute.

WASTE TREATMENT:The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and Biwater Harthasuma Consortium, a contracting firm of ARA Corporation, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, have signed a memorandum of understanding for developing a water treatment plant. The Rs 450 - crore plant will be built in Kalamassery, an industrial hub near Kochi. A spokesperson of ARA Corporation said the project would feature a plant capable of treating 200 million litres, of water every day. Malaysia has also shown interest in the construction of a bridge in Kochi.

AYURVEDIC DRUG: There is good news for patients suffering from angina or ischaemic heart disease (IHD). A new ayurvedic drug, Atherocid, has been developed for treating angina patients. According to V Tripathi, a Varanasi-based doctor, trials of Artherocid were conducted on a series of HID patients over a period of four months. "The changes start appearing after a month and in the subsequent visits, the patient show remarkable improvement," said Tripathi at a meet on Cardiovascular Surgery and Cardiology, held in Delhi recently.

BIODEGRADABLE PESTICIDE: P V Subba Rao, the chief executive officer of the Vittal Mallaya Scientific Research Centre, Bangalore, informed that the Centre has developed an eco-friendly, biodegradable pesticide. The tests of the pesticide, which will be a spray, have established its efficacy against adult mites. He, however, conceded that total eradication of the mites is impossible. Clinical trials of the spray are on to make it 100 per cent foolproof. Indian patents for the pesticides have been granted and US patent is pending informed Rao.

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