Malaria: Nigerian Nwoko Takes Fight To Antarctica

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The founder and president of Prince Ned Nwoko Foundation (PNNF), a humanitarian group is clamouring for a vaccine to end malaria in the continent. Mr NosikeOgbuenyi, Strategic Communication Advisor of the PNNF, made the development known in a statement in Abuja.

According to Ogbuenyi, the expedition to Antarctica by its founderPrince Ned Nwokois to interact with leading researchers working on more effective drugs for the control of the deadly disease.

A report in ACS’ Journal of Natural Products says a peptide isolated from an Antarctic sponge shows promise as a lead for new therapies in malaria treatment.

The team screened a collection of natural products extracted from a Southern Ocean sponge known as Inflatellacoelosphaeroides. One compound, which they dubbed friomaramide, blocked infection and development of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in liver cells in a culture dish as effectively as primaquine, one of the few existing liver-stage treatments. Friomaramide is also nontoxic to the liver cells themselves. The researchers determined that the compound is a linear peptide with a distinctive structure, which they say makes it a promising framework for producing new leads for malaria treatment.

Ned Nwoko arrives in Antarctica as part of the anti-malaria campaign. He is believed to be the second Nigerian to visit the continent.

Ogubuenyi added that the Ned Nwoko Foundation will work with national and multilateral organizations to realize the goal of ridding Africa of mosquito and malaria. In doing this, the foundation plans to spend $75,000 to establish academic research grants that will hopefully, develop a malaria vaccine.

Nwoko says the grants shall be available for scientific scholars in Africa, with a proper selection process and body of judges for the most qualified students and researchers to access.

It has been established that currently, only six countries out of 54 that make up the African continent are recognized by the World Health Organization as malaria-free.

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