ABUJA—FORMER African Presidents, under the aegis of Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa, yesterday said over 3.4 per cent of Nigerians were currently living with the dreaded HIV/AIDS. With the percentage put forward by the ex- presidents, about 5.7 million of Nigeria’s 170 million are currently infected with the virus. The figures were revealed by both the former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae and ex- Vice President of Uganda, Speciosa Wandira, when they paid a courtesy call on President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki. Speaking earlier, former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, who disclosed that the group, Champions for an AIDS- free Generation was formed to harmonize their experiences as past African leaders to collectively fight the disease, said in Nigeria, those infected with HIV and AIDS stood at three percent, meaning that the figure translated to 5.7 million Nigerians. Mogae, who stressed the need for coordinated efforts by the executive and the legislature to ensure that resources were made available to nip the disease in the bud, added that with the present HIV/ AIDS status of the country, Nigeria was next to South Africa. He said: “As you have been told, we are a group of former presidents, including your own Obasanjo. We dealt with the scourge when it broke out and from our experience, we realized that we didn’t stabilize the situation until the top leadership was involved and by the time some of us left office, we helped stabilize the situation. ‘’We had attained some levels of success and converted what was a killer disease into a chronic one.’’ Also speaking at the event,ex- Vice President of Uganda, Speciosa Wandira, who disclosed that 3.4 per cent of Nigerians were infected with the virus, said: “The challenges on us is the well being of the people of Africa, the people of Nigeria, the people of that state where you are governor. “As champions, we say focus, look at the data and focus, there is money in every ministry which is talking about the health of the people. When we talk about those who are infected, the bigger majority of Nigerians are free: 100 per cent minus 3.4 per cent: the bigger majority is not infected. ‘’So what do you do to protect this bigger majority? You must look at the social standards that inform HIV/AIDS. It is the poorest that are affected, it is the jobless that are affected; we advice that you focus on the women and the girls. ‘’What are those social issues that would put those girls more at risk and you put money in those areas: it could be education, it can be industry. What are those industries that are driving the economy, that will keep girls working and make them independent. ‘’That will take them away from feeling that they must have sex with somebody for them to have HIV/AIDS.” Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a member of the group, who was to lead the former Presidents on the visit to senate President Bukola Saraki was, however, absent. Responding, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the National Assembly would continue to give required attention to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country. He stressed that the leadership of the National Assembly was not only concerned about the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria in particular and and Africa in general, but also would continue to assist in efforts, including appropriating adequate funds, to agencies in the country devoted to tackling the pandemic. Saraki said: “We all know the importance of the fight against HIV/AIDS. You made a point that it seems we are beginning to relax concerning the danger posed by the disease. The initiative you have taken to raise more awareness is commendable. ‘’We in the National Assembly will continue to champion advocacy and creation of awareness concerning the scourge including making necessary budgetary allocation to aid the fight. “We did it in the case of Polio. When I was the Governor of Kwara State, we, the governors across the country saw that there was no coordination between the Federal Government and the State governments on the efforts being made to eradicate Polio. ‘’We organized a seminar where we sat with the Bill Gates Foundation, to chart a new way forward. This resulted in the resounding success we witness currently.’’
An international team of researchers has shed light on the potential impact of new drugs for hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is an important cause of liver cancer and is transmitted through blood to blood contact. People who inject drugs (PWID) and men who have sex with men (MSM), who are also infected with HIV, are key risk groups for HCV infection in UK.
Researchers have developed a new method to directly follow viral infections in living organisms. This method can make infected cells produce fluorescent proteins, which means that they light up and become easier to identify. The method also makes it possible to activate other functions in infected cells, for instance to enhance the immune system.
Zika virus (ZIKV), formerly a neglected pathogen, has recently been associated with microcephaly in fetuses, and with Guillian–Barré syndrome in adults. Here we present the 3.7 Å resolution cryo-electron microscopy structure of ZIKV, and show that the overall architecture of the virus is similar to that of other flaviviruses. Sequence and structural comparisons of the ZIKV envelope (E) protein with other flaviviruses show that parts of the E protein closely resemble the neurovirulent West Nile and Japanese encephalitis viruses, while others are similar to dengue virus (DENV). However, the contribution of the E protein to flavivirus pathobiology is currently not understood. The virus particle was observed to be structurally stable even when incubated at 40 °C, in sharp contrast to the less thermally stable DENV. This is also reflected in the infectivity of ZIKV compared to DENV serotypes 2 and 4 (DENV2 and DENV4) at different temperatures. The cryo-electron microscopy structure shows a virus with a more compact surface. This structural stability of the virus may help it to survive in the harsh conditions of semen, saliva and urine. Antibodies or drugs that destabilize the structure may help to reduce the disease outcome or limit the spread of the virus.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
I await the comment that Zika structure shouldn't have been published in nature....
Before the horrors of the latest Ebola outbreak in West Africa could begin to fade from our minds, the Zika virus emerged as a major global health risk, and is now occupying researchers and doctors in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Yet the death toll from another virus is rising fast: yellow fever.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
"At least half of untreated patients with severe cases of yellow fever die within 10-14 days". Zika's not looking so bad now, is it?
The Keystone Symposia organisation held a meeting entitled "New Approaches to Vaccines for Human and Veterinary Tropical Diseases" in Cape Town this week (May 22-26, 2016). A summary of the meeting was given as: "Human and livestock vaccines can contribute to improved human welfare and income generation by maintaining human health and meeting the demand…
Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. Using state-of-the-art tools, EPFL scientists have described a million-atom "tail" that bacteriophages use to breach bacterial surfaces. The breakthrough has major implications for science and medicine, as bacteriophages are widely used in research. To infect bacteria, most bacteriophages employ a 'tail' that stabs and pierces the bacterium's membrane to…
Two specimens of pandoraviruses have been found in shallow water sediments, one in Chile and the other one in Australia. They were both so big that they could be seen with just an optical microscope, reaching 1 μm in length and 0.5 μm in diameter. The researchers found over 2,000 genes in these pandoraviruses, of which over 90% looked nothing like any other previously known gene. In fact, they appear to be unrelated to the previously discovered megaviruses. So what are they? A fourth domain of life? A completely isolated niche in the tree of life? Or could they be — as the sci-fi writer in me wants to think — the remnants of a completely different form of life, one that existed so long ago that these gigantic particles are all there is left of it?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted breakthrough therapy designation this month to a polio virus for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma brain cancer. The designation came after nearly unprecedented results during a Phase I clinical trial from Duke University
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