Bill Gates Supports Use Of Technology To End Malaria

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has supported the use of technology to help put an end to malaria.

This was disclosed while on Wednesday while speaking at the Malaria Forum conference in London saying that it should not jeopardise exploration of tools such as CRISPR gene editing and so-called “gene drive” technologies.

“I’m very energised about the potential of gene drive. (It’s) the kind of breakthrough we need to support,” Gates said.

“It may prove critical here.”

Gene drive technologies alter DNA and drive self-sustaining genetic changes through multiple generations by overriding normal biological processes.

CRISPR technology enables scientists to find and modify or replace virtually any gene. The techniques are being explored across science – from human medicine to livestock- and crop-breeding.

In mosquitoes that transmit malaria, genetic alterations can be used to induce infertility to reduce populations, or alter the insects’ ability to carry and pass on the malaria parasite. The technologies can be extremely powerful.

However, they are also controversial, since such genetically engineered organisms released into the environment could have an unknown and irreversible impact on the ecosystem.

Asked in a interview with the Media about that controversy, Gates said there were understandable concerns about safety and efficacy that would need to be addressed in research and trials.

But he countered: “Malaria itself is quite controversial – it kills about 400,000 kids a year. So we’re definitely not on the side of malaria.”

He also noted that at their summit in January, leaders of the African Union endorsed gene drive research as part of the fight against a disease that continues to kill their people.

“They spoke out to say that, for them, getting rid of malaria is worth using innovative science,” Gates said.

The WHO warned late 2017 that global progress against malaria had stalled and could be reversed if momentum in the fight to wipe it out was lost.

The disease infected around 216 million people in 91 countries in 2016, an increase of 5 million cases over the previous year.

It killed 445,000 people, about the same number as in 2015, with the vast majority of deaths occurring in babies and young children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Gates told the Forum that his almost 20 years of involvement in global efforts to beat malaria had been both gratifying, in terms of progress, and tough, in terms of suffering he witnessed.

He described seeing a child in a hospital in Tanzania convulsed with seizures due to cerebral malaria.

“With the state of science and the wealth of the world, that really should be an affront,” he said. “We really shouldn’t accept that this disease can continue.”

Gates said that ending malaria for good would take many years and a range of tools both new and old – from bednets and mosquito traps to a new vaccine and next generation gene tools.

He said he thought it unlikely that creating gene drives in malaria-spreading mosquitoes would have a major impact on the wider ecosystem.

His reason is so because it would only target a few species and suppress their populations for a period of time.

“None of these (gene technology) constructs will actually wipe out the species,” he said. “It will evolve back. After all, evolutionary pressures always push back.”

Dramatically reducing mosquito populations with such technologies could give a window of opportunity to help limit the human-reservoir-of-disease so that transmission of the disease among people is stopped, he said.

Gates also said that genetic information and data, gathered in the field and transmitted swiftly to sophisticated surveillance systems, is allowing scientists to identify evolving strains of malaria parasites.

They are also tracking drug and pesticide resistance, helping them stay one step ahead of the disease.

 

Kenya Set To Eradicate Malaria

Erjesa Waqo, Head of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP)has revealed Kenya has set plans in motion to completely eradicate malaria by 2030 by progressively increasing domestic funding.

Waqo said that currently government financing constitutes about 25 per cent of all malaria eradication efforts with the rest being funded by bilateral and multilateral donors.

“In order to ensure Kenya meets the World Health Organisation target on reducing malaria deaths and infections by 2030 by 90 per cent as compared to 2015 figures, the country will devote more locally sourced funds on fighting the disease,” Waqo said.

Waqo said total malaria funding in Kenya averages 270 million dollars for a three-year period and with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria being a significant donor.

He said that reliance on foreign donors to fight malaria could reverse the gains already achieved.

“We are already experiencing donor fatigue from our traditional donors, hence the need to increase amount of funding from domestic sources in order to ensure sustainability,” he added.

The head of NMCP said that key tools being deployed to reduce the malaria burden include indoor residual spraying as well as use of treated mosquito nets.

He noted that due to targeted interventions, the national malaria prevalence rate has reduced by eight per cent down from 11 per cent five years ago.

However, Waqo said that the Lake Victoria region in Western Kenya is most affected by malaria with prevalence rates currently at 27 per cent.

In another development, Kenya on Monday urged African countries to establish own climate change funding mechanism to save the continent from huge burdens on their economies.

Charles Mutai, the Director of Climate Change in the Ministry of Environment, said the fund would help provide finance mechanisms for priority climate change priorities.

“The increased climate change vulnerability causes huge burdens in the continent hence the need for homegrown funding mechanism,” Mutai told delegates from African countries who are attending Africa Regional Forum on Climate Technology.

He said the funding would help accelerate the development, deployment and transfer of locally relevant climate and clean energy technologies in the continent.

Mutai revealed that Kenya has developed climate change fund and science, technology and innovation act that facilitate the promotion, coordination and regulation of the progress of science, technology and innovation in the country.

He noted that the continent urgently requires innovative technologies on flood management, crop resilience, soil protection and early warning systems.

Mutai said that with the increasing frequency and intensity of droughts and floods, the continent requires technology cooperation to help reduce the cost of tackling climate change while stimulating opportunities for sustainable development.

The meeting has been organised by the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), an implementation arm of the technology mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The centre promotes the accelerated transfer of environmentally sound technologies for low carbon and climate resilient development at the request of developing countries.

 

Nigeria Develops Ebola, Malaria Herbal Drugs

The National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) says it has successfully researched and developed six traditional herbal products for the treatment of Ebola, Malaria and other diseases.

The NIPRD Director-General, Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel, said this while presenting the score card of his eight-year tenure (2009 to 2017) in Abuja on Friday.

The programme, organised by NIPRD, aimed to present the products researched and developed by the institute and present staff service awards to deserving worker.

He said that ‘NIPRIBOL’, a fixed dose combination drug was developed by the institute for the treatment of Ebola Virus Disease, adding that the institute had completed the Phase I study of the drug.

Gamaniel said that the institute had also developed ‘NIPRIMAL’, an anti-malaria for treatment of uncomplicated malaria, stating that the drug was also safe for use by pregnant women.

Others are: ‘NIPRIMUNE’ an immunostimulant which can also be used to manage HIV in Nigeria and ‘NIPRIFAN’ for the treatment of fungal skin infection.

He said that another product developed by the institute, ‘NIPRD Oil’, could be used as a nasal decongestant, insect repellant, air freshner and an anti-inflammatory agent.

He however noted that excessive use of this oil could cause irritation.

He said that “the institute has also developed ‘NIPRISAN’ for the management of sickle cell anaemia.

“We are currently concluding plans to carry out commercial production and distribution of this product.

“We have developed and implemented various institutional policies for effective governance, this include the scheme and condition of service, intellectual policy and quality management system.

“We have also ensured the introduction of traditional herbal medicine into the national health system and established partnerships with local and international organisations.

“The core competence of NIPRD is in the development of phytomedicines from indigenous plants and products, clinical trials, among others; we are a quality assured institute,” Gamaniel said.

He said that presenting a report was necessary as it would serve as a baseline for the new leadership and provide an opportunity for new strategies to be introduced.

The institute presented awards to over 150 staff for their hard work and dedication to the growth of the institute, and the research and development of traditional herbal products.

NAN

Toothpaste Could Fight Drug-Resistant Strains Of Malaria

A research carried out in part by an Artificially-Intelligent (AI)‘robot scientist’ has found that a common ingredient of toothpaste can be developed to fight drug-resistant strains of malaria.

From the study in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists from Britain’s Cambridge University who used the AI robot to conduct high-throughput screening said the ingredient, triclosan, showed the potential to interrupt malaria infections at two critical stages – in the liver and the blood.

WHO says malaria kills around half a million people every year, the vast majority of them children in the poorest parts of Africa.

The disease can be treated with a number of drugs, but resistance to these medicines is increasing, raising the risk that some strains may become untreatable in the future.

Because of this, the search for new medicines was becoming increasingly urgent, said Steve Oliver of Cambridge University’s biochemistry department, who co-led the work with Elizabeth Bilsland.

After being transferred into a new host via a mosquito bite, malaria parasites work their way into the liver, where they mature and reproduce.

They then move into red blood cells, multiply and spread around the body, causing fever and potentially life-threatening complications.

Scientists have known for some time that triclosan can halt malaria parasites’ growth at the blood stage of the infection by inhibiting the action of an enzyme known as Enoyl Reductase (ENR), which is involved in production of fatty acids.

In toothpaste, this helps prevent a build-up of plaque bacteria.

In this latest work, however, Bilsland’s team found that triclosan also inhibits an entirely different enzyme of the malaria parasite, called DHFR.

DHFR is the target of the antimalarial pyrimethamine, a drug to which malaria parasites are increasingly developing resistance, particularly in Africa.

The Cambridge team’s work showed that triclosan was able to target and act on this enzyme even in pyrimethamine-resistant parasites.

“The discovery by our robot colleague that triclosan is effective against malaria targets offers hope that we may be able to use it to develop a new drug,” said Elizabeth Bilsland, who co-led the work.

“We know it is a safe compound, and its ability to target two points in the malaria parasite’s lifecycle means the parasite will find it difficult to evolve resistance.”

The Artificial Intelligence robot scientist used in the study – nicknamed Eve – was designed to automate and speed up the drug discovery process.

It does this by automatically developing and testing hypotheses to explain observations, running experiments using laboratory robotics, interpreting the results, altering the hypotheses, and then repeating the cycle.

 

Breaking The Malaria Cycle By Rasak Musbau

In spite of the huge amount that governments both at the federal and the states levels spend in the provision of curative malaria drugs with the support received from the Global Fund, malaria has remained endemic in Nigeria. Indeed, it is impossible to calculate the actual harm malaria has done to us. The malaria parasite has been sapping the strength of the whole populations. It impairs the health of our people and consequently restraints economic development. It leads to loss of productive hours, productivity, money, persistent absenteeism and maternal and child mortality among others.

Meanwhile, for Nigeria to move forward, we really have to get rid of malaria just as we need to do with similar preventable diseases such as measles, diarrhea and tuberculoses. The question here is: Since malaria is a preventable disease, why is it so endemic to the extent that our country alone bears about 25 per cent of Africa’s malaria burden? The answers are simple and straightforward. In Nigeria, one of the essential family practices that most Nigerians are found wanting in is sufficient protection from mosquito bites. Two, most illnesses, including malaria, are treated at home or in the community before or without seeking care at a formal health facility. Added to these are our coastal environment, poor environmental sanitation and improper diagnoses. In many places, hospitals don’t do a proper check. Anyone with the minutest symptoms of malaria is often offered treatment without proper diagnosis. The consequence of this is that while a growing number of countries have recorded decrease in the number of confirmed cases of malaria, the disease has remained a scourge here.

As such, it is crucial for everyone to be aware of and adhere to essential family practices to promote mosquito control and prevention. You can’t contract malaria if you aren’t bitten by mosquitoes, and the type of mosquitoes that transmit malaria usually bite at night. For this reason, it is important to sleep every night inside a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net. Long-lasting bed net is a tool that is most associated with the recent progress against malaria. Another way is for people to be ensuring that all windows and doors are properly screened to prevent mosquitoes from coming in.

Many people also do something called indoor residual spraying where they spray insecticide on the walls inside their house to kill any mosquitoes which might come in. It is equally advisable for those that frequently have malaria attack to wear long-sleeved clothing in the evenings and at night to stop mosquitoes from biting them. Furthermore, it is important to make sure that one is diagnosed properly. Our people need to be aware that having symptoms of fatigue, weakness, nausea and cold which are very typical of malaria is not enough to conclude it is malaria, thereby resorting to self-medication without visiting a health facility for proper diagnosis and treatment.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that anyone suspected of having malaria should receive diagnosis and treatment with an effective drug within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. It is only when a sick person cannot have access to a health care provider within that timeframe that home treatment is acceptable as first aid. Moreover, in Nigeria, you should NOT be given chloroquine to treat malaria, unless your case is confirmed as not being caused by plasmodium falciparum. Virtually all the plasmodium falciparum in Africa are resistant to chloroquine, and so it is no longer an effective treatment. Instead, first-line treatment for malaria is recommended as an artemisinin-based combination therapy. However, the truth is that whether the malaria map will keep shrinking, as it has in the past decade, or be reclaimed by the malaria parasites depends, to a great extent, on the resources that will be invested in control efforts over the next few years. Thanks to malaria elimination efforts in United States in the 1940s, most people in the U.S. today have never had any direct contact with the disease, and most doctors have never seen a case. That success means other nations including Nigeria can also achieve reduction or complete elimination with right investment and positive attitude.

In this direction, Lagos State government investment in malaria control has progressed appreciably with lots of steps been taken to clinically stamp out the prevalence of malaria and its parasites. The topography and ecological features of the state, the abundant coastal features, rapid urbanization and inadequate drainage systems are some of the major factors that contribute to all year transmission of malaria in the state. But the state through its Directorate of Disease Control is doing all it can to invests heavily toward reducing the burden of the disease. Investments in malaria control in the state have created unprecedented momentum and yielded remarkable returns in the past years, particularly in the scale-up of insecticide treated nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying (IRS) of insecticides, and prevention of malaria during pregnancy. The goal of the Lagos State Malaria Elimination Program is to significantly reduce the burden of disease consequent upon malaria.

The activities of the Malaria Control Unit are carried out in collaboration with the Lagos State Malaria Research, Technical and Advisory Committee which is chaired by the Honourable Commissioner and includes all partners including donors, researchers and NGOs in the State. Take away from all-aforementioned is that the war against malaria is easier fought and won if taken more seriously by all of us. Just as government at all levels has the responsibility to strengthen the health system, the citizens, individually and as a group, also have a big stake. We have the responsibility of protecting our children and family from malaria by using insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), draining of stagnant water or water collection points, and keeping our environment clean. Positive attitudes towards environmental sanitation are very germane. We do all know that mosquitoes and pests are frequently attracted towards heaps of garbage and wastes. They are the main transmitters of diseases like chicken pox, malaria and jaundice.

As medical research and behavioural change communication continue, it is hope that, there will be a day when malaria and most all major deadly diseases are eliminated in Nigeria. Complete elimination of the malaria parasite (and thus the disease) would constitute eradication. While eradication is more desirable, it may not currently be a realistic goal here, but we can all play a role in reducing it.
Musbau is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

Council Boss Harps On Support To Eliminate Malaria

The Executive Secretary, Atakunmosa West Local Government, Hon. Omole Adegbamigbe has urged the people of local government and its sister council, Atakumosa Central Local Council Development Area (LCDA) to support the Government of the State of Osun towards eliminating malaria in the society.

He made the call during the flag off of distribution of insecticide net, last week Thursday.

Omole, who appreciated the Governor of the state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for taking the healthcare of the people with seriousness said, the distribution of the long-lasting insecticide net was part of the government efforts to guaranteeing healthy living among the people.

He said, “the mosquito net was prepared with environmental-friendly formulated chemicals capable of knocking down mosquitoes and other insects that transmit disease when it comes to contact with it”.

He continued and advised people of Osun to take the issue of their health serious by complying with all the government health programs and make use of the advantage to its maximum.

“I wish that all of us should take the issue of our health serious by complying and key into government’s programs and make use of the advantage.

Malaria is a long age disease in our environment and is endemic in Nigeria, it transmits its parasite by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

Charging the people to subscribe to the issue of healthy environment, he said, “this insect breeds where there is over grown weeds, accumulation of stagnant water and refuse and in order to eliminate malaria, we should all join hands together to maintain total environmental sanitation of our environment at all time”.

Omole explained that the sponsor and organizer of the program in conjunction with the state government had made campaign efforts, targeting every household in all the nooks and crannies of the two councils

He added that the partners had engaged various categories of workers for different assignments to ensure that the net gets to appropriate quarters without sentiments, irrespective of religious, ethnic, political affiliation and social background.

On Killing Malaria

More than two weeks after the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), in quick response to controversies surrounding reports of ‘killer’ anti-malarial drugs circulating nationwide, stated that it would deploy software on phones to ascertain the status of any NAFDAC regulated products, nothing seems to have been done in that direction.

The NAFDAC’s Acting-Director, Dr. Yetunde Oni, who made this declaration at the time, was reacting to the investigative probe panel instituted by the Senate Committee on Health over the viral social media report. According to the information from the social media, certain categories of malaria drugs banned in Europe were being stockpiled, sold and consumed in Nigeria. These drugs, about 42 in number, included such street-familiar brands like Alaxin, Artesunate, Camoquine, amongst others. And in reaction to this report, the Senate had immediately called on its committee on health to probe the allegation. Almost immediately too NAFDAC, in its reaction described the report as false.

By reacting without clarifying the incident, the Senate was too hasty. Such haste is a telling embarrassment to the National Assembly. On the other hand, if the report was false as described by NAFDAC, what then was the Senate going to probe? Now, the ripples have worn out; it is business as usual, thereby lending credence to the thinking that the responses from both the Senate and NAFDAC to the panic-bearing reports of circulating ‘kidney-killer’ malaria drugs might have been mere political statements.

While NAFDAC’s response to the controversial report was a routine exercise in the right direction, it is the belief of many informed Nigerians that the agency should have been more pro-active in its public enlightenment strategy. Had it been known that some malaria drugs were banned in all the states of Europe, the least NAFDAC would have done was to immediately alert Nigerians about the development in Europe rather than wait for the social media to feast on that news and cause some mischief. Had NAFDAC pre-empted the reaction in the social media and taken the prerogative of first disseminator of the report, the unnecessary alarm created as well as the imprudent goof of the Senate, by reacting without clarification, would have been avoided.

Thus, whilst there is need for national agencies to keep abreast of international dynamics in the control of food and drugs, and the health sector in general, the nation’s law makers should be cautious in their reaction to information in the public domain, especially the social media. As privileged public servants, they should not, like the masses, be drifting like the masses in the currents of information overload. With their array of aides and researchers, law makers should be privileged recipients of the clearest ideas of the subject issues on which they adjudicate. Furthermore, the caution over needless haste in disseminating information also goes to the internet-savvy Nigerians who are quick to pass on information without deep reflection about their effect and value on the polity.

Beyond this, Nigeria has to take a leap further than being reactionary. Cognizant of the phenomenal consumerism and neo-capitalist tendencies pervading the world today, there is the assumption that there is no product that cannot be counterfeited. This suggests the likely existence of a network of corrupt blue chip pharmaceutical companies colluding with unscrupulous elite to rip off unsuspecting nations and ignorant people in developing countries. As this newspaper has consistently warned, our medical institutions, research and policy institutions, should not be caught off-guard. They should be alert to the global ‘malaria politics’ that turns malaria-prone developing nations into money-spinning experimental laboratories of dubious foreign investors and their African cohorts.

One safe way of guarding against this scenario is for African and Nigerian medical and scientific research organisations to ensure that funding and research into challenges confronting African people are sponsored and controlled by African governments. That we identify and acknowledge that malaria and other health issues are problems is the first step towards solving these problems. But we need to go further by initiating ideas and working out modalities to address them. The point has been made before: Our leaders must not wait for special foreign organisations and research agencies of more powerful western nations, to reluctantly address our health issues by turning us into guinea-pigs for their own medical research initiatives. A nationally guided pro-active research should be instituted.

It is for this reason that the idea of deploying software on phones, to ascertain the status of NAFDAC-certified anti-malarial and other drugs, has become very urgent. Although the use of cell phones is now commonplace, the agency should not be deceived that mere usage or possession of a cell phone would ensure compliance. NAFDAC would need to liaise with non-governmental organisations, consumer rights groups, educational and religious bodies to effectively enlighten the populace, especially people in the outskirts of city, slums and rural areas, on the improved benefits of the software. This is because they are those mostly hit by the marketing of fake drugs.

For a United Front Against Malaria By F. John Bray

The United Nations’ call to “end malaria for good” resonates deeply with me – I have had malaria. I am encouraged by the progress that has been made to eliminate this terrible disease. The global mortality rate dropped by 47 per cent between 2000 and 2013 and the number of children killed by malaria has declined by two-thirds since 2000, with more than 6.8 million lives saved. I was reminded however of the deadly toll this disease continues to take when I saw a public service announcement on DSTV stating that every 30 seconds a child in Africa dies from malaria. Today, Global Anti-Malaria Day, is a time to reflect on what we have achieved and chart our way forward.

Most of the progress has been attributed to improved deployment of malaria control interventions, including enhanced access to artemisinin based combination therapy and the proper use of insecticide treated mosquito nets. To consolidate these gains, World Health Organisation member states agreed on a new global malaria strategy for 2016-2030, aimed at reducing the global disease burden by 40 per cent by 2020 and eliminating malaria in at least 35 new countries by 2030.

Nigeria, which accounts for one-quarter of all the malaria cases in Africa, is a signatory to the bold new strategy, a clear signal that the government is determined to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality in the country. Nigeria has already made remarkable progress in the past 15 years, successfully reducing mortality rates among children under the age of five by 18 per cent through an aggressive programme to combat malaria.

However, Nigeria faces a new challenge. The decimation of healthcare infrastructure across the country’s North-East at the height of Boko Haram’s insurgency has put millions of Nigerians at a high risk of malaria infection and malaria-related death. The majority of the estimated two million internally displaced people in the area, including vulnerable children under the age of five and pregnant women, no longer have easy access to the free tests and artemisinin based combination therapy drugs previously available at government funded healthcare centres.
Medical professionals are also concerned about the possibility of increased resistance to anti-malaria drugs as mosquitoes adapt to increasingly warmer temperatures across Sub-Saharan Africa. Resistance to malaria medicines and insecticides has been recorded in regions of Asia and may pose significant risks to Nigeria’s progress in malaria control.

The government and people of Nigeria do not face these challenges alone. The U.S. government, through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), is a steadfast partner in the global fight against malaria, working together with host country governments and partners to bring effective tools for the prevention and control of malaria to the people who need them the most.

In Nigeria, PMI works with national partners such as the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Elimination Programme. PMI also works with international partners such as the UK Department for International Development, the World Health Organisation, and the Global Fund to reach and maintain universal coverage with long-lasting, insecticide-treated nets for all individuals living in malaria endemic areas.

PMI has scaled up malaria control interventions in Nigeria and to date, has procured over 31.6 million bed nets, 20.9 million malaria diagnostic test kits, over 52.4 million malaria first line drugs, and 11 million doses of the drugs that prevent malaria in pregnancy

As World Anti-Malaria Day rolls by each year, I wonder what needs to be done to rid the world of malaria for good. The good news is there are answers. We must recognise that we do not need to accept malaria as a normal part of life. If we sleep inside a treated net every night, if we seek treatment from a qualified health worker within 24 hours of the onset of a fever, we can drive down the presence of the malaria parasite in our environment and ultimately eliminate it.

Together, we must improve the protection of expectant mothers and their newborns from malaria. During pregnancy, malaria can cause particularly serious, life-threatening risks for both the mother and her baby.

We must also increase access to health services, especially for the poor. Community health workers must be able to provide reliable testing and treatment for malaria and other childhood illnesses.
Success during the next three to five years will be crucial to attain the vision of this year’s World Anti-Malaria Day theme, “End Malaria for Good.” Ridding the world of this burden will have a long-term transformative impact across the globe, saving millions of lives and generating trillions in additional economic output.

I am fully convinced that fighting malaria is one of the smartest investments to protect health, create opportunity, and foster growth and security. While the road ahead is complex, the narrative is not – it is about coming together as a global community because of our common humanity and each doing our part to protect families and children from a cruel disease.

• John Bray is U.S. Consul General, Lagos

First Large-Scale Malaria Vaccine Trials For Africa

The World Health Organization says three African countries have been chosen to test the world’s first malaria vaccine.

Ghana, Kenya and Malawi will begin piloting the injectable vaccine next year with young children.

WHO said Monday that the vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives if used with existing measures. The challenge is whether impoverished countries can deliver the required four doses of the vaccine for each child.

Mosquito-borne malaria infects more than 200 million people worldwide every year and kills about half a million, most of them children in Africa. Bed netting and insecticides are the chief protection.

WHO says a global effort to counter malaria has led to a 62 percent cut in deaths between 2000 and 2015.

Source: AP

 

Iba Foundation Said To Curb Malaria In Lagos State

With the wide spread of malaria in the society,  and also mark the world malaria day. Iba foundation initiative a Non-Governmental organisation has taken stringent measures to kerb the virus in Ajegunle community a suburb of Lagos.

As part of an effort to forestall the spread of malaria in the society, and also mark the world malaria day. Iba foundation initiative a Non-Governmental organisation has taken stringent measures to kerb the virus in Ajegunle community a suburb of Lagos.

The organisation embarked on sanitation exercise, distributed about one thousand insecticides treated net, gave out malaria drugs and also sensitise the community on ways to prevent the endemic disease.

Youths within the community turned out En masse for the sanitation exercise even without any form of incentive.

One of the volunteered workers during the sanitation exercise, who identified himself as Festus Labule, said he joined the workforce to render his self-service to the society. He called on the youth to always participate in such imitative because it is the bedrock of a healthier society.

The executive director of the organisation Oluwamayowa Adefojusalu stated that the primary objective of the exercises is to communicate behavioural change, and also help the members of the community develop a healthy lifestyle.

According to him, “Ajegunle is known as the ghetto of Lagos state and it is very dirty, this will ultimately will lead to malaria. We felt that the place needs to be cleaned-up, also educate the people about malaria because a lot of them feels that malaria is part and parcel of their life.

Adefojusalu urged local Government official to tackle malaria in their constituency and quit waiting for state and federal government intervention.

Expressing delight that such an initiative was brought to the corridor of their community, the traditional ruler of Oke Ira Bale Shutairu Hassan Olayeni pledged continuous support to the activities of the organisation in all ramification.

He, beckoned on the government to support such an organisation financially because the well-being of the mass is evidently their topmost priority.

 

Source: The Nation

New Malaria Vaccine Records 100% Effectiveness

Scientists have discovered an effective vaccine that offers up to 100 per cent protection from malaria. German researchers at the University of Tübingen in collaboration with the biotech company, Sanaria Incorporated, have demonstrated in a clinical trial that a new vaccine for malaria called Sanaria PfSPZ-CVac has been up to 100 per cent effective when assessed at 10 weeks after last dose of vaccine.

If this finding is confirmed, it brings success to almost a century-old search for an effective vaccine for an illness that claims over 300,000 Nigerian lives annually.

According to the World Malaria Report 2016 released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), malaria killed 429,000 and infected 212 million people in 2015. It noted that millions of Africans still lack tools to prevent and treat the ailment. Around 90 per cent of those malaria deaths were in Africa. Nearly three-quarters of those who succumb to the disease are children under five.

University of Tübingen researchers in collaboration with the biotech company Sanaria Inc. have demonstrated in a clinical trial that a new vaccine for malaria called Sanaria® PfSPZ-CVac has been up to 100 percent effective when assessed at 10 weeks after last dose of vaccine. For the trial, Pro-fessor Peter Kremsner and Dr. Benjamin Mordmüller of the Institute of Tropical Medicine and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) used malaria parasites provided by Sanaria. The vac-cine incorporated fully viable — not weakened or otherwise inactivated — malaria pathogens together with the medication to combat them. Their research results have been published in the latest edition of Nature.

Prof. Peter Kremsner explained: “The 100 per cent protection was probably caused by specific T-lymphocytes and antibody responses to the parasites in the liver. The researchers analyzed the bodies’ immune reactions and identified protein patterns which will make it possible to further improve malaria vaccines.”

The researchers injected live malaria parasites into the test subjects, at the same time preventing the development of the disease by adding chloroquine — which has been used to treat malaria for many years. This enabled the researchers to exploit the behaviour of the parasites and the properties of chloroquine.

Study leader, Benjamin Mordmueller, said: “By vaccinating with a live, fully active pathogen, it seems clear that we were able to set off a very strong immune response. Additionally, all the data we have so far indicate that what we have here is relatively stable, long-lasting protection.”

Malaria parasites are transmitted by the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes. The Plasmodium falciparum parasite is responsible for most malaria infections and almost all deaths caused by the disease worldwide. Most of the previous vaccines which have been tried involved the use of individual molecules found in the pathogen. However, they were unable to provide sufficient immunity to the disease. The Tuebingen study involved 67 healthy adult test persons, none of whom had previously had malaria. The best immune response was shown in a group of nine test persons who received the highest dose of the vaccine three times at four-week intervals. At the end of the trial, all nine of these individuals had 100 percent protection from the disease.

“That protection was probably caused by specific T-lymphocytes and antibody responses to the parasites in the liver,” Professor Peter Kremsner explained. The researchers analyzed the bodies’ immune reactions and identified protein patterns which will make it possible to further improve malaria vaccines, Kremsner added. The researchers injected live malaria parasites into the test subjects, at the same time preventing the development of the disease by adding chloroquine — which has been used to treat malaria for many years. This enabled the researchers to exploit the behavior of the parasites and the properties of chloroquine.

Once the person is infected, the Plasmodium falciparum parasite migrates to the liver to reproduce. During its incubation period there, the human immune system could respond; but at this stage, the pathogen does not make the person sick. On top of that, chloroquine does not take effect in the liver — so it is unable to prevent the parasite from reproducing. Malaria only breaks out when the pathogen leaves the liver, entering the bloodstream and going into the red corpuscles, where it continues to reproduce and spread. As soon as the pathogen enters the bloodstream, however, it can be killed by chloroquine — and the disease cannot break out.

“By vaccinating with a live, fully active pathogen, it seems clear that we were able to set of a very strong immune response,” said study leader Benjamin Mordmueller, “Additionally, all the data we have so far indicate that what we have here is relatively stable, long-lasting protection.” In the group of test persons who demonstrated 100 percent protection after receiving a high dose three times, Mordmueller said, the protection was reliably still in place after ten weeks — and remained measurable for even longer. He added that the new vaccine showed no adverse effects on the test persons. The next step is to further test the vaccine’s effectiveness over several years in a clinical study in Gabon funded by DZIF. Malaria is one of the biggest health threats in the African nation. The University of Tuebingen has worked with the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in the Gabonese town of Lambaréné and with the neighboring research institute, the Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné, for many years.