Following are the claims that Brahmachari and his cronies have made to the media and Indian public:
- “As of today we’ve annotated nearly 98% of the MTB. That concludes a major phase of the OSDD project and is a big step forward for science.” – S K Brahmachari (This he considers a big step because of the belief that only 25- 40% of TB genes have been annotated).
- The official letter dated 27th Oct. 2009 sent by Zakir Thomas, Project Director OSDD, states the following: "Though Mtb was sequenced a decade back, the standard databases have not annotated more than 1000 of the near 4000 genes encoded by the organism. This is symptomatic of the problem of neglected diseases of the poor. OSDD is taking up the challenge of annotating all possible genes in Mtb and hopes that your institution would join this massive effort."
- “The TB genome was sequenced in 1998, but more than half the genes in the genome did not have any function attached to them.” – Vinod Scaria
- “We wanted to collect all the information in one place.” – Vinod Scaria
- “This is the first time that a comprehensive mapping of the M. tuberculosis genome has been compiled, verified and made publicly available." – S K Brahmachari
- SK Brahmachari and OSDD team also made claims several times that no new drug for TB has been developed in past four decades.
• “Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv was first isolated in 1905, has remained pathogenic and is the most widely used strain in tuberculosis research. The complete genome sequence and annotation of this strain was published in 1998 (Cole et al., 1998 ). The information from this project was incorporated into the public database TubercuList which was created using the GenoList model (Moszer et al., 2002).” [Refer to Microbiology 148 (2002), 2967-2973]
• “Presently, it is possible to assign a function to 2058 proteins (52% of the 3995 proteins predicted) and only 376 putative proteins share no homology with known proteins and thus could be unique to M. tuberculosis.” [Refer to Microbiology 148 (2002), 2967-2973]
• “This document provides a brief description of how we generated the annotation for the finished genome of M. tuberculosis F11 strain.” [Refer to: TBDB.org]
• “We are happy to announce the integration of TB Diversity Sequencing dataset generated by Sebastien Gagneux and Peter Small through The Broad Institute Genomic Sequencing Center for Infectious Diseases (GSCID) established by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). TBDB now provides users the ability to search and compare 30+ sequenced strains selected to represent the phylogenetic diversity of TB.” [Refer to: TBDB]
Other web links of interest:
1. Sanger Institute's TB initiative
2. J Craig Venter Institute - TB work
3. What is Genome Annotation?
From the above one can CONCLUDE the following things:
• The genome had been sequenced and efforts on annotation were on-going. Scientists have been trying to find the function of all the genes. And, that they were already more than 50% through with annotation of TB in 2002 itself and that TB database (supported by The Gates Foundation) have already done this job and made it publicly available.
• Existence of publicly available databases for TB gene sequence and annotation, some of them have been discussed above. One database is in Pasteur Institut; the other one is in Stanford (which is being supported by Gates Foundation)
In fact, 'real' scientists have already made huge progress in developing diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics for TB (and OSDD team deliberately chose to not acknowledge them):
• TB Diagnotics - Commercially available diagnostic kits being sold by Cellestis
• TB Vaccines - New TB Vaccine for the World by AERAS
• TB Therapeutics - "Sequella Inc. receives Orphan Drug Status for SQ109 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency, entitling Sequella Inc. to seven years of market exclusivity for SQ109 for the treatment of patients with tuberculosis."