Monthly Archives: July 2015

Africa’s new anti-malarial drug has showed promising test results.

July 31, 2015 The University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre, H3D, has announced that tests on a potential single-dose cure for malaria have shown encouraging results and are attracting several international interests and funding.

The new compound, MMV048, has proved potent and highly successful in curing malaria in its preclinical studies. The drug is designed to prevent the transmission of plasmodium parasites.

Kelly Chibale, a professor of organic chemistry, talked about the success of the project.

“So what we have done in the last three years since the announcement was in 2012 we have taken this to phase one human clinic trials and of course there is a long way to go, the potential that this compound offers is more than just the potential to impact Malaria control but also the potential to impact eradication because it is able to block transmission” He said.

Chibale also added that this is the first molecule from Africa to undergo clinical trials at the facility.

So in a nut shell we have taken it to phase-one clinic trials, we have done extensive safety testing as a requirement and then thirdly we have looked at the process of manufacturing the drug on a large scale

Chibale also said that the success had attracted a range of local and global partners and some foreign direct investment, while scientists from the USA, Europe, India and Africa had joined the program since the breakthrough was announced, including five senior scientists from the Western pharmaceutical industry.

The malaria programme, which is carried out by the University of Cape Town’s Drug Discovery and Development Centre in collaboration with Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), was selected for further development by MMV’s expert scientific advisory committee in July 2012.

On the back of that, Mosquirix, the world’s first malaria vaccine has received a green light from European drug regulators.

Mosquirix, also known as RTS, was assessed for quality, safety and efficacy under a special procedure that allows the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to evaluate a product even if it will not be marketed in the European Union.

Developed by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, the drug is the first licensed human vaccine against a parasitic disease, according to GSK’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty.

This is the world’s first vaccine against any parasite. It’s not just the first vaccine against malaria. It’s never been done before and as recently as 10 years ago well informed scientific opinion would say that this was an impossible mission,he said.

 

Obama meets Lucy, attends state dinner in Ethiopian capital

July 31, 2015 And to round out the week that was, we share some more bits you might have missed from President Obama’s visit to the continent. In Addis Ababa, the US president arrived at the African Union headquarters to meet the commission’s chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for discussions on trade and regional security.

Also on the agenda was the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the Islamist group Boko Haram’s violent campaign in Nigeria and elections in Burundi.

Throughout his tour, President Obama’s focus was that Africa and its nations can aspire to a bigger role in the global economy, and the United States was ready to be a partner.

While addressing the AU, President Obama emphasized that every human deserved to be treated with decency and respect.

We must uphold the inherent dignity of every human being. Dignity. The basic idea that by virtue of our common humanity, no matter where we come from or what we look like, we are all born equal, touched by the grace of God. Every person has worth, every person matters, every person deserves to be treated with decency and respect,”

He went on to acknowledge the continent as the “cradle of humanity” as he spoke on democracy, corruption, the rule of law and employment.

Throughout much of history mankind did not see this. Dignity was seen as a virtue reserved for those of rank and privilege, kings and elders. It took a revolution of the spirit over many centuries to open our eyes to the dignity of every person. Around the world generations have struggled to put this idea into practice in laws and in institutions. So too here in Africa. This is the cradle of humanity. The ancient African kingdoms were home to great libraries and universities. But the evil of slavery took root, not only abroad, but here on the continent. Colonialism skewed Africa’s economy and robbed people of their capacity to shape their own destiny. Eventually liberation movements grew and fifty years ago in a great burst of self-determination, Africans rejoiced as foreign flags came down and your national flags went up.”

Later on, President Obama was hosted to a state dinner by the Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn, where he was introduced to Ethopia’s oldest resident “Lucy”- a three million year old skeleton discovered in 1974.

In his toast, Obama complimented Ethiopia and raised his glass “to another century of friendship, to our one human family and to our bright future”.

 

China's superbug vaccine enters clinical trials.

July 31, 2015 According to China’s Third Military Medical University, the People Republic of China is set to celebrate yet another innovative milestone as its first ever superbug vaccine enters the clinical test stage.

The vaccine was developed by a scientific team headed by Zou Quanming, director of the National Engineering Research Center for Immunological Products, in affiliation with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). It is targeted at Staphylococcus aureus, one of the antibiotic-resistant bugs which causes abscess and muscle necrosis.

Zou said, having studied the genome of the Staphylococcus aureus, scientists have extracted five immunogens.

“This vaccine can protect more than 85 percent of all vaccine recipients and is able to effectively fight against infections caused by the Staphylococcus aureus,”

According to him, Clinical trials will be conducted among susceptible hosts from ages 19 to 59 years old, and if it passes the trial, will be put into production within three to four years.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had earlier warned that bacteria resistant to antibiotic treatment are widespread across the world, with a report stating that “the problem is so serious that it threatens the achievements of modern medicine.”

It also said: “A post-antibiotic era – in which common infections and minor injuries can kill – is a very real possibility for the 21st century

 

U.N. human rights experts say Canada must address violence against indigenous women.

July 31, 2015 U.N. human rights experts recently urged the Canadian government to address the issue of the increasing violence against indigenous girls and women

According to a report released by Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2014, Canadian women are disproportionately subject to murders and abduction.

While speaking to journalists in Geneva about this, U.N. independent expert Anja Seibert-Fohr said:

“One of the concerns that we have expressed is the disproportionate effect that women from indigenous communities are suffering with regards to murders and disappearances, and therefore the committee asks to take specific steps in order to deal with the root causes of this kind of violence and also to effectively investigate these kind of crimes,

The Native Women’s Association of Canada, has reported over 600 cases of missing or murdered native Canadian women and girls between 2005 and 2010.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee, whose job is to regularly review and control the respect of civil and political rights under the International Covenant by its State parties, recently reviewed Canada and one of the members added that the state needs to do more to protect its women and girls.

We ask the State party to urgently address this issue of these murdered and missing indigenous women, and we propose some measures, for example a national inquiry into this phenomenon, but also a review of the relevant legislation and also, within Canada, a more, a broader coordination by the police in order to prevent such murders and disappearances,

The experts also expressed worries over the potential eradication of indigenous people’s land rights and titles.

We are concerned about the very long disputes that indigenous have to undertake in order to ascertain their ownership and to benefit from their traditional lands and these disputes remain unsolved over a long, long period of time. There is also information that there is no regular consultation of indigenous people, this is of concern because currently there are lots of projects underway which may adversely affect indigenous communities and therefore we made the proposition to enact a consultation mechanism, Seibert-Fohr added.

The U.N. human rights experts also focused on allegations of human rights abuses committed by Canadian businesses located abroad, especially mining companies.

 

Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic emblems unveiled

July 31, 2015 Ahead of the 2020 Summer Games open in Tokyo, hundreds gathered in a downtown Tokyo plaza to witness the official unveiling of the tournament.

The officials of the Olympic committee promised to do all in their power to overcome every foreseeable challenge and make the Games a resounding success.

Despite the enthusiastic atmosphere, the crowd wasn’t going to be easily convinced, following a streak of broken promises relating to the game.

The most recent of these broken promises is the prime minister’s decision to take plans for the centerpiece New National Stadium “back to zero” in the face of growing outrage over ballooning costs.

This decision will leave the 2019 rugby World Cup without venues for some of its most important matches, hereby damaging Japan’s reputation in the eyes of the sporting world and possibly hampering the hosting of future sporting events.

The governor of Tokyo, Yoichi Masuzoe had some assurances though, saying

There have been many problems up to now, including the stadium, and there will no doubt be more, but I firmly believe that if we work together we will be able to overcome everything”.

Olympics Minister Toshiaki Endo, who also heads a committee tasked with developing a new plan for the stadium, told a news conference that plans are indeed back at zero.

“As for construction costs, we aren’t thinking of anything at this point, we are really starting from zero. Nothing is decided yet. We know that there are various opinions”, he said.

 

Mexico fires coach Miguel Herrera

July 31, 2015 Mexico’s football federation has fired its manager Miguel Herrera for allegedly attacking a reporter at the team’s Gold Cup win.

According to the president of the Mexican football federation, Decio de Maria, Miguel Herrera allegedly punched a sports journalist for Mexico’s TV Azteca, Christian Martinoli.

“I have rationalised and heard and taken the decision to separate from the (head of the) technical team of the national side, Miguel Herrera. It’s not an easy decision, it’s a complex decision. It (the decision) shows who we are and above all else what should happen,” he said

The team was heading home after it won the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament when the incident allegedly took place, however de Maria insists that Herrera’s off-pitch conduct stands above his success on the field.

“I think that Miguel understands the basis of the decision and at the end of the day, as I have just finished reading, his values and his principles stand above whatever results,” he added

Martinoli had strongly criticized Herrera over his well-known emotional sideline outbursts during the team’s early exit from a previous tournament in Chile. He stated that the incident took place when Herrera spotted him in the security line at the airport, threatened him and then struck him in the neck.

Grupo Salinas, which is the parent company of TV Azteca has called on Mexico’s football federation to launch an immediate investigation into the incident.

 

Majid Michel, Alex Usifo to star in ‘Royal Mission’.

July 31, 2015 Hi there and welcome to the end of July, settle in now for the news. First up is some behind the scenes footage of Ghanaian actor, Majid Michel who is currently in Nigeria on set for Nollywood movie Royal Mission.

Starring  alongside Alex Usifo, Eve Esin, Maureen Okpoko amonst others, this film is being shot on location in Enugu. It is produced by Chijioke Nneji and directed by Caz Chidiebere.

 

New video alert! Yemi Alade – Duro Timi

July 31, 2015 Hot off her MTV Africa’s award as best female act, Johnny singer Yemi Alade is not resting on her laurels as she’s out and about for the shoot of her hot new track Duro Timi released today.

The Effyzzie Music queen Yemi has these visuals off her debut album “King of Queens”.

The video was shot in London with Ovié Étseyatsé as the visual’s director and Taiye Aliyu the co-director.

 

New video alert! Da L.E.S ft AKA, Burna Boy – Paid

July 31, 2015 Also on the new music front is Da L.E.S featuring South African rappr AKA and Nigeria’s Burna Boy in this collabo titled Paid.

You’ll remember the trio won Best Collaboration for “All Eyes on Me” at the MTV MAMA Awards 2015. It’s no wonder they’re back at is again to smoke up the screens with this one.