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Purdue researcher awarded $1.3 million for malaria drug trials in Southeast Asia and Africa

Philip Low looks to validate previous trial results and test whether the number of days of an anti-malaria drug therapy can be reduced

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Sept. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A Purdue researcher is taking a giant leap forward in the fight against drug-resistant strains of malaria in developing countries.

Open Philanthropy has awarded $1.38 million to Philip Low to further validate a drug therapy that he and his colleagues have previously shown to successfully treat the disease. Low (rhymes with “now”) is Purdue University’s Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery and the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the College of Science.

For years, experts have been concerned about the rise of drug-resistant malaria variants in Southeast Asia and the prospect that one or more of these strains might travel to Africa. A similar event occurred in the 1980s with the emergence of drug resistance to the then-standard treatment of chloroquine, which resulted in millions of deaths.

But Low is working to save lives on both continents by conducting clinical trials to validate previous results and to test whether the number of days of an anti-malaria treatment can be reduced.

While studying how malaria propagates in human blood, Low and his research team discovered that the cancer drug therapy imatinib is effective in the treatment of drug-resistant malaria. Trials in Southeast Asia showed that imatinib, when combined with the customary malaria therapy, clears all malaria parasites from 90% of patients within 48 hours and 100% of patients within three days. The patients receiving imatinib were also relieved of their fevers in less than half of the time experienced by similar patients treated with the standard therapy.

Open Philanthropy has awarded Low $600,000 for a larger clinical trial in Southeast Asia to validate his previous trials. The organization has also awarded Low $780,000 to determine whether the usual three-day therapy can be reduced to two days or even one. This work will be focused in the African countries of Kenya and Tanzania where malaria is prominent.

“We found that people in Africa must often walk many miles to obtain treatment for malaria. They will receive three pills, walk all the way home, take one or two pills, start to feel better, and then save the third pill for their next malaria infection,” Low said. “When they don’t finish the course of treatment, only the most drug-resistant strains of the parasite survive and spread. And that’s how people build up drug resistance. So we’d like to eventually be able to cure all patients with just one pill. It would prevent these drug-resistant strains from ever proliferating.”

Open Philanthropy is a grantmaking organization whose mission is to use its resources to help others as much as it can, according to the funder.

“This is yet another case of an organization recognizing Philip Low’s brilliance, scientific vision and mission to help people in all corners of the world,” said Brooke Beier, senior vice president of Purdue Innovates. “The Purdue Research Foundation has been a proud partner in supporting his work, protecting and promoting his intellectual property that is changing lives and making our world a better place to live.”

Since 1988, Low has been listed on more than 145 invention disclosures to the Purdue Innovates Office of Technology Commercialization. He has been listed on more than 600 patents in nearly two dozen countries around the world from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and international patent organizations. During his tenure at Purdue, Low has been awarded 213 research grants for more than $43.5 million. His work also receives support from the Purdue Institute for Cancer Research and the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery.

Imatinib was originally produced by Novartis for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia and other cancers. It works by blocking specific enzymes involved in the growth of cancers.

“When we discovered the ability of imatinib to block parasite propagation in human blood cultures in petri dishes, we initiated a human clinical trial where we combined imatinib with the standard treatment (piperaquine plus dihydroartemisinin) used to treat malaria in much of the world,” Low said.

Malaria infects human red blood cells, where it reproduces and eventually activates a red blood cell enzyme that in turn triggers rupture of the cell and release of a form of the parasite called a merozoite into the bloodstream. Low and his colleagues theorized that by blocking the critical red blood cell enzyme, they could stop the infection. The data from initial drug trials have confirmed that.

“Because we’re targeting an enzyme that belongs to the red blood cell, the parasite can’t mutate to develop resistance — it simply can’t mutate our proteins in our blood cells,” Low said. “This is a novel approach that will hopefully become a therapy that can’t be evaded by the parasite in the future. This would constitute an important contribution to human health.”

The goal, Low said, is to get this into developing countries to save lives. With this new round of funding, he says they’re now closer than they’ve ever been.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution with excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top 4 in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, with 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 12 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap, including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes, at https://www.purdue.edu/president/strategic-initiatives.

About Purdue Innovates

Purdue Innovates is a unified network at Purdue Research Foundation to assist Purdue faculty, staff, students and alumni in either IP commercialization or startup creation. As a conduit to technology commercialization, intellectual property protection and licensing, startup creation and venture capital, Purdue Innovates serves as the front door to translate new ideas into world-changing impact.

For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. For more information about involvement and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact Purdue Innovates at purdueinnovates@prf.org.

Media contact: Steve Martin, sgmartin@prf.org

Sources: Philip Low, plow@purdue.edu

Brooke Beier, blbeier@prf.org

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Steve Martin
Purdue Research Foundation
sgmartin@prf.org

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General

Group seeks inclusion, appointment of women with disabilities in governance

The Network of Women with Disabilities has sought for the inclusion and appointment of women with disabilities in governance and active decision making.

They made the call at a rally and press conference organised by Cedar Seed Foundation in partnership with Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), with funding support from MacArthur Foundation in Abuja.

Mrs Lois Auta-Udonkanta, the President of the group, said the exclusion, discrimination, sidelined, marginalisation and under-representation were challenges affecting Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.

Auta-Udonkanta, who is also the Founder, Cedar Seed Foundation, explained that in spite of that Nigeria was a signatory to the UN Conventions on the Rights of PWDs, Maputo Protocol and other treaties, women and girls with disabilities were excluded in governance structures.

According to her, some of the challenges affecting poor political participation of PWDs could be attitudinal, infrastructural, institutional, political, cultural and economical.

She, therefore, urged the government to adhere to Section 29 of the Discrimination against PWD Prohibition Act, 2018, which states minimum appointment of five per cent quota for PWDs, with emphasis on women.

“Nobody from the disability community was appointed as a minister.

“We also have other parastatals that PWDs, especially our women can be appointed as director generals, executive directors and executive secretaries.

“So we are still appealing to government to listen to us to give us our rights of active participation by appointing us into these government agencies and parastatals.

“We also need to pay attention to the passionate and deliberate in implementing these beautiful laws and policies that we have,” she urged.

She also encouraged PWDs, especially women, to “come out and participate actively in politics.

“So women with disabilities out there if you’re listening to me, come out and join political parties not just by joining but attending meetings, and also aspiring for positions in those political parties”.

On the Nigeria Disability Act, 2018, the group’s president said: “One of the provisions is the transition period that was given in this Act; five years period, and it will be expiring in January 2024.

“Ramps are not put in our government infrastructures. Sign Language interpreters are not placed at strategic points.

“Braille materials are not provided in our schools and other public infrastructures and those are the barriers we are talking about.

“We need to remove these barriers to be able to include them accordingly.”

Similarly, Miss Cynthia Ukacho, the Training Coordinator for the network, stressed the need to amplify voices of women with disabilities, organise a national dialogue with Sen. Oluremi Tinubu on inclusion in the Renewed Hope Initiative.

Also, Miss Rose Daniel, the Project Officer, said in collaboration with PLAC initiated the Disability Inclusion in Governance (DIG) programme to confront challenges affecting women with disabilities in electoral processes, governance structures and political discourse.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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General

Katsina governor’s wife solicits support for VVF patients

The Wife of Katsina State Governor, Hajiya Zulaihat Radda, has appealed to the general public to support the patients of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the state.

Mrs Radda made the appeal on Saturday at the graduation ceremony of rehabilitation and skill acquisition training of 46 treated VVF patients in Katsina.

The VVF patients were treated and trained by the National Obstetric Fistula centre Babban Ruga, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.

She reiterated the need for the volunteers, NGOs, traditional and religious leaders, companies and wealthy individuals to also join hands to support them.

“This support can be through donations, or to taking care of some of the patients and the hospital’s needs, because the hospital is not a profit-making organisation.

“But it was established to provide the VVF patients with the needed treatments and also skills training for them to establish business of their choices after being discharged.

“I wish to inform you that through my office, I have a programme which is mainly to support children, girl child education and also women with special needs.

“Also, we have a health programme that supports our women and children in the state,” the governor’s wife said.

She assured of her readiness to collaborate with the hospital and also the VVF patients training centre to help the patients.

She expressed delight over the fact that the hospital is not only meant to treat VVF patients, but to also provide antenatal care for them.

“Therefore, I am calling on the people of the state to utilise this opportunity and the facilities provided,” she called.

Earlier, the Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Sadiya Mamman-Nasir, said the treated VVF ladies were trained in sewing, knitting, shoe/bag making, pasta making among other things.

According to her, the primary functions of the centre are free treatment of patients with obstetric fistula, rehabilitation of treated patients, prevention of recurrence and centre for training and research.

“The centre provides free fistula care to VVF patients from the North-West geo-political zone. It also receives a sizable number of patients from other zones, as well as neighbouring Niger Republic,” she said.

Mamman-Nasir said that in spite of paucity of fund, the centre still treats about 400 VVF patients yearly.

“However, due to paucity of funds, the centre could not rehabilitate the large number of patients being treated and operated on daily.

“Hence, the centre approached the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, who facilitated the release of a special grant by the Federal Ministry of Finance for the rehabilitation activities.

“Consequently, 50 repaired VVF patients are to be rehabilitated quarterly in the year 2023.

“Trainees are fully accommodated at the centre, feeding of three square meals, cleaning and training materials as well as take up packs are provided to them free of charge,” she disclosed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor’s wife presented each of the beneficiaries with cash and a clothing material (Atamfa).

The repaired VVF clients were also empowered by the centre, with sewing machines, knitting and grinding machines, pasta making and sharpening machines. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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General

FCT traffic services calls for public participation in road traffic management

The Directorate of Road Traffic Services (DRTS), Federal Capital Territory Administration, has called for public partnership in transportation and road safety management to reduce the rate of accidents on Nigerian roads.

Dr Yusuf Suberu, Squadron Leader, DRTS, stated this in Abuja on Saturday, during the 2023 Special Marshals Sectoral Workshop, organised by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), FCT Sector Command Special Marshal.

Suberu, who is also the National Coordinator, Road Traffic and Vehicle Inspection Mayors, said that the public partnership would significantly reduce the spate of avoidable accidents on highways.

He noted that several activities aimed at preventing the causes of accidents and reducing its severity have been implemented by government agencies such as the DRTS and the FRSC.

He added that public support was required in the formulation and implementation of life-saving policies to reduce the rate of accidents to the barest minimum.

According to him, the growth and development of every city is largely determined by the positive attitude of its residents.

He stressed the need for collective efforts and stakeholders’ support for effective traffic management through collaboration with relevant government agencies.

“This will promote safety standards by educating road users on protecting traffic environments and advocating for proper vehicle maintenance amongst others.

“There is also the need to encourage esteemed and distinguished individuals in the society and the public to volunteer as Road Safety Ambassadors.

“The ambassadors will help to decongest and control traffic, as well as maintaining traffic law and order within and around their environment, “he said.

Suberu said that workshop was timely, adding that the discussions and stakeholders’ commitment would attract more volunteers into the road safety management for safer roads.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Occasion, Mr Nathan Egereonu, said that collective effort was needed to achieve a crash-free society.

Egereonu, who is the Head, Contract Administration, Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas, called on individuals to support ongoing efforts towards reducing the rate of accidents on Nigerian roads to the barest minimum.

On his part, Mr Shehu Mohammed, FRSC Zonal Commanding Officer in charge of FCT and Niger, commended the efforts and contributions of the special marshals in improving road traffic management across the country.

Describing their contributions as “unquantifiable”, Mohammed assured the volunteers that their efforts in ensuring sanity on the roads would be rewarded.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the workshop is “Volunteerism in Road Safety Management: Limits and Possibilities”.

Highlights of the event were the cutting of cake, decoration of honorary special marshals, presentation of certificates of recognition and awards to outstanding marshals among others.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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General

Deputy PM & FM Calls for Genuine Reform of Global Institutions to Accommodate Interest of Global South

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen has called for genuine reform of global institutions to accommodate the interest of the South at the Group 77+ China Summit underway in Havana.

The Group 77+ China Summit is aimed at ensuring that technology works for all humanity and accelerates the Sustainable Development.

Speaking at the Group 77+ China Summit, he said unilateral sanctions and coercive economic actions hamper progress in science, technology and economic development.

According to him, facilitating knowledge and technology transfer through South-South cooperation fosters innovation and the implementation of SDGs.

In this respect, Ethiopia's digital strategy envisages inclusive digital economy with wider benefits to the wider public, Demeke added.

The deputy premier also said that Ethiopia has registered encouraging results in the implementation of the digital strategy.

The summit is expected to conclude today issuing declarations, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

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Government Politics

Group engages FCT women on leadership, civic knowledge enhancement

HEIR Women Hub, an NGO, has engaged 40 young FCT women on leadership and civic knowledge enhancement to tackle gender gaps in governance.

Aniebo Ola-Olaniyi, Executive Director, HEIR Women Hub, made this known in a virtual conference on Saturday.

Ola-Olaniyi emphasised the need for young women to have vast knowledge in every sphere to enable them take leadership roles in the society.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the conference is “Advancing Leadership Capacity of Young Women: A cross-generational strategy to tackling Gender Gaps in Governance”.

She stressed the need for young women to do more and thrive amidst societal norms, while expressing hope for positive impact on the project and expectations afterward.

Ola-Olaniyi revealed that global percentage of women’s participation in leadership was at 22.5 per cent and that of the African region recorded around 23.4 per cent.

She added that the national average of women’s participation in governance in Nigeria was 6.7 per cent

She said this in spite of women accounting for 49.4 per cent of the total population with the mean age of women involved in political processes set at 55years.

According to her, only 381 out of the 4,259 contestants for the presidential and the national assembly seat in the 2023 elections were women.

She blamed the wide gender gap on female participation in leadership on lack of support based on cultural expectations of young women.

“Others are sexual harassment, gender discrimination, lack of support for female leader, traditional perceived gender roles among others and the lack of economic resources.

“The report from the world gender gap report 2022 places Nigeria at 123rd with a score of 0.639 out of a total of 146 countries with a gender gap of 63.9 per cent.

“Statistics from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) revealed that only 30 per cent of companies in Nigeria have attained gender balance in the workforce and women account for 33 per cent of the workforce.

“Nigeria has less than 65 per cent wealth equality , ranked 50th in economic participation and opportunity, 134th in educational attainment, 97th in health and survival, and 141st in political empowerment,” she said.

According to the executive director, the involvement of women in nation-building is an inalienable right, as well as an inescapable reality for holistic and comprehensive political, economic, and social advancement.

“When young women are included in leadership across different levels, it will promote productivity and progress for both the women and the country.

“There will be a decline in the cases of gender-based violence confronting young women as more responsive policies will be promoted and this will encourage the growth of GDP of the country,” she said.

According to her, it does not end with training young women to take on more leadership positions in society.

“HEIR Women Hub went a step further by engaging young women and the general public first on their civic rights and also on the benefit of having young women in leadership.

“About 50 per cent of the young ladies who were at the leadership training came out for this purpose and it was an experience indeed.

“A lot of feedback has been drawn from this engagement and we believe that henceforth, it will go beyond taking as we shall begin to see results.

“It is cheering things to see young women from different climes unite for a common goal, “she said.

Ms Juliet Isi-Ikhayere, Principal Partner at MAKHOMS-J Attorneys, said that there were numerous challenges faced by young women in politics and encouraged the participants on how to thrive in political space.

Also, Sylvia Sarki, National Youth Coordinator, National Council for Women Societies, encouraged women to engage in politics and not bow to pressure or give up on their ambition irrespective of the challenges they face. (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Categories
Business Market

UNGA: Tinubu to address Africa International Trade Exhibition

President Bola Tinubu is billed to speak at the Africa International Trade Exhibition program, during the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Tunde MacAlabi, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Business, Trade and Investment Summit Component of the exhibition programme, made this known in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.

He explained that the meeting would take place on Sept. 21 at the prestigious Hilton Hotel located at 1335 Avenue of the Americas, Midtown, Manhattan, New York.

MacAlabi, who is the Chief Executive Officer of T-BYK Ventures, will be joined by notable figures such as Prof. Tai Balofin, President of Nigerian Progressive Professionals.

He said that Tinubu would also be joined by Khuraira Musa, the Chief Executive Officer of K-Pro Consulting of New York and President of the Arewa Development Support Initiative (ADSI), an NGO, for empowering youths and women in Northern Nigeria.

According to him, Ms Musa, a serial entrepreneur and author of the ‘Audacity of an African Child’, an autobiography that chronicles the struggles of her disadvantaged childhood, will co-anchor the session.

” During the programme, President Tinubu, who will serve as the Special Guest of Honour, is expected to deliver a goodwill message to a distinguished gathering of North American and key figures from the private sector. “

“The Africa International Trade Exhibition (A.I.T.E) programme is designed as a complementary private sector initiative to the US-Africa Leaders annual summit.

” It aim is to foster closer socio-economic ties between the United States and Africa through enhanced commercial engagement,” he said.

He stated that the event would be a vital platform for discussions, collaborations and strategies that will contribute to the economic development and prosperity of Nigeria and its partners

This will come under the theme: “The Imperative of Global Trade for African SMEs as a Game Changer for the Future Prosperity of the Continent.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the president will on Sunday leave Abuja for New York to attend the 78th UN General Assembly holding from Sept. 19 to Sept. 23.

A statement by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, disclosed this on Saturday in Abuja.

The trip will be Tinubu’s first UNGA outing.

Ngelale said that the theme of the UNGA is: “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability for all.” (NAN)

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Categories
General

Kumbo: Gendarme killed by Separatist under detention

A member of the National Gendarmerie lost his life after he was shot with his own gun by a detained Separatist fighter, now on the run.

Vernyuy Melice surrendered to government forces in early 2023 and would later act as a spy against his former comrades.

But on September 15, 2023, while in detention at the Kumbo brigade, he seized the gun of a Ndoke, a Gendarme who was shot at close range, before escaping.

Source: Cameroon News Agency