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ANNOUNCEMENTS:::

TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.

  • WHO ARE AT RISK?


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.
     

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malaria FINAL SOLUTION?

By AdeIeke O’Adeyemi, NIGERIA

With  advances  in  the  science  of  medicine escalating by leaps and bounds, we are  truly at a unique point in human history. Diseases  and other medical issues that have run rampant wait to be  given  the  deathblow  they  deserve,  thanks  to breathtaking breakthroughs in scientific research.

As Science takes on the menace of malaria with a resolve that promises to yield a final solution, we must take note of research infrastructure and scientific undertakings on our shores. It is significant that the twin breakthroughs about to be celebrated by the world at large also serve to underscore the glaring entrenched dearth of research and scientific enterprise here.

This state of affairs, in the final analysis, simply means that  our  education,  especially at   the  critical university level,  has  ceased  to  be  universal  and  functional;  the system is no longer amenable to problem-solving.

Instead, it has become stuck in a rut of rote learning, one from which students (as much clueless as their handlers)

simply  strive  to  scamper  off  'certificated'    not necessarily  the  same  thing  as  being   educated. Thankfully, there is now in place an initiative for bringing    about  a  culture  of  relevant  scientific  inquiry  into  all things boggling in the land.

This is the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas NLNG-endowed Nigeria  Prize  for  Science  (there  is  a  second  for Literature).  Regretfully,  even  this  glimmer  of  hope  for catalysing a badly needed revolution has had cause to blink in perturbation as the Prize has not been awarded half of the time since its inception. Ever inventive, the organisers  have  gone  a  step  ahead  to  put  the 'unclaimed' cumulative prize money - $20, 000 the first time; $ 30, 000 the next time   into a fund for upgrading laboratory  facilities  in  select  institutions  across  the country.

Whether for gain or fame, there is no gainsaying the fact that once again, well before the initiative above catches up, the North, already with a well established culture of scientific research, is reaching down to our half of the world  (the  Southern  hemisphere)  with  sorely  needed help: a line of attack to eradicate completely  the scourge of malaria.

Most  common  in  tropical  and  subtropical  regions, malaria is a universal curse that strikes and leaves in its trail 350 to 500 million (reported) new cases annually. According to UNICEF, an African child is lost to it every 30 seconds.

Though not a new idea, gene modification is what  scientists  believe  will  be  the  hero  to
millions of individuals who remain at risk of the debilitating disease.

While preventative measures such as sleeping under a mosquito net or the use of preventive medication, have proven to reduce the risk of coming down with malaria, it has  however  been  difficult  to  discover  a  truly  long- lasting solution to the spread of the disease.

Though  not  a  new  idea,  gene  modification  is  what scientists  believe  will  be  the  hero  to  millions  of individuals who remain at risk of the debilitating disease.

The science has been in use in plants to eliminate certain characteristics from strains of some species in order to help farmers end up with better crops. Now, the focus of the technology has shifted to one of Man's giants that would not be so easily slain: the mosquito.

The idea is to create a genetically altered mosquito with a  resistant  gene  that  kills  the  parasite  causing  malaria without harming the mosquito. This bug would then be introduced into the population of mosquitoes carrying the  malaria  parasite.  When  the  mosquito  produces offspring, the resistant gene would be passed on to the  new generation of mosquitoes, which would then pass it on  to  the  next  generation,  and  so  on.  Eventually,  the parasites causing the disease would be weeded out of  their  vector  organism    the  mosquito    completely.  The theory is robust.

Scientists  at  the  Johns  Hopkins  Malaria  Research Institute in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States are toying  with  the  idea  of  creating  such  a  mosquito.  It's looking more and more a possibility. It remains one of the  more  promising  ideas  out  there  for  bidding  good riddance to a really bad disease.

In  the  meantime,  while  we  keep  our  fingers  crossed waiting for this final solution, coming still from the sides of the North is an optical laser technique that will soon eliminate the need for slides, staining and microscopes,  the standard laboratory set-up in testing people for the disease.

A  research  team  led  by  Dr.  Paul  Wiseman  of  the Departments  of  Physics  and  Chemistry  at  McGill University  in  Montreal,  Canada,  has  developed  a radically new technique that uses lasers and non-linear optical  effects  to  detect  malaria  infection  in  human blood. The researchers say the new technique holds the promise of simpler, faster and far less labour-intensive detection of the malaria parasite in blood samples. This rapid malaria detection breakthrough is set to glide out from the Northern Hemisphere, to take on the world of Plasmodium in the South.

The  resources  and  trained  personnel  required  to accurately diagnose the disease are spread the thinnest in Sub-Saharan Africa, where most of the fatalities are  concentrated.

Current  detection  techniques  require  trained technicians  to  stain  slides,  look  for  the  parasite's  DNA signature  under  the  microscope,  and  then  manually count  all  the  visible  infected  cells,  a  laborious  process dependent  on  the  skill  and  availability  of  trained analysts. In contrast, the proposed new technique relies on  a  known  optical  effect  called  third  Harmonic Generation (THG), which causes hemozoin  a crystalline substance secreted by the parasite   to glow blue when irradiated by an infrared laser.

Mark Shainblum of the Media Relations Office at McGill, Dr. Wiseman and his colleagues hope to co-opt existing well-established  technologies  like  fibre-optic communications lasers and fluorescent cell sorters into their groundbreaking technique to quickly move it out of  the laboratory and into the field.

“We're  imagining  a  self-contained  unit  that  could  be used in clinics in endemic countries,” said Dr. Wiseman. “The operator could inject the cell sample directly into the device, and then it would come up with a count of the total number of existing infected cells without manual intervention.”

Hopefully, the relevant authorities in Africa and all other regions of the world where malaria is endemic will lend moral support towards accelerating the dividends from these researches to get them home to their grassroots, thereby  achieving  the  shortest  possible  lab-to-town transit. Malaria has thwarted efforts at development in Africa  for  far  too  long  for  it  to  be  spared  a  moment longer.

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