CODE MALARIA

The overall goal of this project (CODE MALARIA: Eradication developments for the decade) is to produce effective four high tech products for the control and final eradication of malaria starting with Nigeria. The malaria parasite needs man and the mosquito to continue surviving. Therefore, our first targeted product (from project I), a cuisine of anti-malaria drugs (design and production cost is expected to be cheap, to enhance large scale usage possibility) is to allow rapid cure of malaria in humans. This is to reduce to zero the chance of an uninfected mosquito to be infected after a bite. The second targeted product (from project II), an advanced but human friendly pesticide (a cocktail of agents) is to help delete rapidly all malaria infected mosquitoes.

The third (from project III) aimed at producing a mathematical modeling for the prediction of mosquitos’ meta-population dynamics towards understanding and validating the seasonal dynamics of this vector. An integration of novel genetic control methods such as SIT (Sterile Insect Technique), lethal densovirus and genetically manipulated endopathogenic fungi, into this mathematical modeling, will allow us to push down the population of the mosquitoes in some areas as may be necessary during the deployment phase of the first two products. And to sustain the gains of the expected malaria eradication after the deployment of the CODE MALARIA technologies, we have another project (project IV), geared at creating a technology (a hand-held machine) that will allow us to detect malaria infection at the liver stage. From the understanding of our environment, in particular West  Africa, it is perhaps the place where malaria originated and from the weather set-up, it will continue to be reservoirs of mosquitoes. The malaria parasite goes through the liver before arriving at the blood stage where it manifests.

It is therefore imperative to note that many lives (in particular the people with Sickle cell anemia) will be saved if these parasites can be detected and treated at the asymptomatic liver stage instead of waiting till the disease manifestation at the blood stage. The expected result of the successful execution and application of our work will make Nigeria and eventually Africa, free of malaria infected humans and mosquitoes like the western world. Currently Covenant is investing about directly Twenty-Four Millions Naira to project I and another Fourteen Millions Naira to project IV, in addition to various Millions of dollars from external funding bodies.

The last newspaper interview from Vanguard Nigeria can be found at:
http://www.vanguardngr.com/2012/10/we-aim-to-eradicate-malaria-in-africa-ezekiel-adebiyi/
The account in this editorial account also present key landmarks so far on the project till October 2012.

Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa)

The Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) Initiative aims to facilitate a contemporary research approach to the study of genomics and environmental determinants of common diseases with the goal of improving the health of African populations. To accomplish this, the H3Africa Initiative aims to contribute to the development of the necessary expertise among African scientists, and to establish networks of African investigators.

H3AbioNet

Covenant University Wins NIH Research Grant Award.
H3ABioNet is a NIH-funded Pan African Bioinformatics network comprising 32 Bioinformatics research groups distributed amongst 15 African countries and 2 partner Institutions based in the USA. For a complete list of partners see Consortium Members. The main goal of H3ABioNet is to create a sustainable Pan African Bioinformatics Network to support H3Africa researchers and their projects through Bioinformatics capacity development on the African continent.

WASLITBRe

In the following, we detailed briefly interdisciplinary projects with a couple of links to H3A projects that will be the subjects of all Dissertations and Theses from our MSc and Ph.D. programs:

  • The CODE MALARIA project: see above

  • Human Metabolic Network Modeling (HMN): We aimed to construct/model computational analysis platform(s) using several human metabolic networks (HMNs) for human cells/tissues to enable diagnosis, pharmacology studies and drug targets prediction for specific selected diseases under the H3Africa project. Currently, we are working with four nodes in the H3AbioNet with 3 Internships completed at co-PI labs to move this project forward. To apply the technologies we are building to the H3A projects, we have established collaborations with the H3A TrypanoGEN (via Prof Enock Matowu) and the RAFAgene (via Prof Dissou Affolabi). We have extended the HMNM project to include Leishmaniasis. There is no doubt that in the next 5 years, based on the backbone work, we have done, we are positioned to foster translational research in the areas of efficient and accessible diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis, Trypanosomiasis, and Leishmaniasis and foster informatics among these groups in the H3A. There is the potential of growing the network of H3A research groups working on the HMNM project.

  • FEDGEN: In our attempt to bring human genomic research to the African populations, we have initiated genomes analysis computing platform customized to address specific issues of Health in African populations, namely Health Education, Medication efficiency and enhancement of early disease diagnosis. We have encapsulated this computing platform in a project we have entitled: “A Federated Genomes analysis based on Memory Database Computing Platform (FEDGEN)”. The motto of this project is to “improve the health of our people”. The platform we have envisioned to develop can be encapsulated in the following Figure:

    FEDGEN

    We hope to realize a first (free) version of this in this new grant. The FEDGEN project has been taking as a part of the African Genome Variation Database (AGVDB) project of the H3AbioNet. EU funded groups like Sci- Gaia, WACREN, and Eko-Konnect have indicated interest to work with us in this.

  • Genetics and Health Informatics to alleviate Epileptic encephalopathies in childhood in WA: Epilepsy is a group of neurological diseases characterized by epileptic seizures. Epilepsy is one of the most common serious neurological disorders affecting about 22 million people as of 2013. Most of those with the disorder (80%), with greater mortality, are in the developing world and 75% of these people are not appropriately treated. Epilepsies caused by genetic, congenital, or developmental conditions are more common among younger people. Genetics is believed to be involved in the majority of cases, either directly or indirectly. Our aims are two-fold: For the first time among WA children, we have designed a study to accurately determine the frequency of peculiar mutations in children with Epileptic encephalopathies (EE) and present definitive phenotypic spectrum for these candidate genes to allow accurate clinical determination of their etiology. Provide training and support to Medical personnel and Scientists to increase critical mass of research in Epilepsy (starting with the children category) in WA and maintain them locally.

  • HPV/gene/environment and its degeneration to cervical cancer: Cervical cancer is a big challenge in WA. Cervical cancer is caused by a virus – human papillomavirus (HPV). Geneticists have been looking at the gene/host/environment that facilitates host receptivity to HPV. Are some people, human hosts, more likely to get cancer from the 4 types of HPV most likely to cause cancer? Most people clear the virus without getting cancer, but not everyone. Also, in a recent study, researchers found that the virus clears in about 300+ days in Caucasian women, and 600+ days in black women in a U.S. sample. What about human hosts and environment makes HPV become cancer in some people and why did it take almost twice as long for the virus to clear in the African American study participants? Might the key to the answer be related to the high incidence of cervical cancer in Africa? Topics like reproductive health, sexuality, and disclosure issues are highly sensitive, but research is acceptable to this area in WA (though sadly not much is currently being done) as whatever will help/empower/educate the society as touching reproductive capacity, will be welcome. With the kind of ELSI research we hope to carry out in this project, we hope our findings will be able to use a medium to intervene and hopefully save lives or at least protect someone’s reproductive capacity to carry a pregnancy to term.

  • Africa is a continent endowed with a large diversity of plants and (wild) animals. Research efforts into the biology of plants and animals have grown worldwide, even so in Africa, because of the potential exploitation for health, agriculture, nutritional value and recently, bio-energy. The studies in the areas of Bioinformatics have further driven this research astronomically. Recently, precisely in the year 2012, to further establish the application of bioinformatics to health issues in Africa, the US National Institute of Health (NIH) funded “a sustainable African Bioinformatics Network” (H3ABioNet (www.h3abionet.org)) for the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) projects. The H3ABioNet consortium has been developed and has several fundamental and specialized (health-based) bioinformatics training opportunities planned. However, these are focused on human health, and there is the need to extend these to plant-related biological problems.