By Ejigu Wolde
Senior scientists in Rockville, Maryland, presented to the world what is noted as ground breaking research and a huge contribution to the fight against malaria. The team included two Ethiopian senior scientists, Alemtaye Andarge and Yonas Abebe, whose finding was published in the December issue of the high-impact research journal ‘Nature’.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. Symptoms include fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, people may develop severe complications and die. In 2020, World Health Organization reported an estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627 000 malaria deaths worldwide, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa. About 2,000 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia travellers.
Ninety percent of the anti-malarial vaccines to date depend on sporozoites, a cell form that evolve in the salivary gland of mosquito. These team of scientists reported an effective anti-malarial vaccine that is capable of infecting humanized liver without the need for mosquitoes through In vitro production for the first time.
In a press release, Dr. Pedro Alonso, Professor at the World Health University of Barcelona and Director of the WHO’s Malaria Programme, said this great research result has a major impact on increasing our understanding of the importance of vaccine development. In addition, the president of the Swiss Academy of Sciences, Professor Marcel Tanner, emphasized the importance of the research results further stating that the presented technologies can be easily transferred to countries of the world that want to produce malaria vaccine.
NATURE , is world renowed and prestigious journal widely known for publishing new and high-quality research results and is a lifelong aspiration for many scientists. Given the technical complexity of developing any vaccine against a parasite, this original research undoubtedly brings hope to a better treatment.
Adding to it all, Alemtaye, widely known as Alem by her colleagues, was awarded ‘ best employee’ in February 2022 for her extraordinary leadership in identifying materials needed for the research from various companies in the country; ensuring continuity of this research without interruption during the past difficult covid-19 epidemic. A former associate researcher of Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization, Alemtaye worked in GeneSeek Operations and the famous National Institute of Health. Yonas Abebe, known for being responsible for training various pharmaceutical operations teams in the company was also awarded in February 2019 for performing this task successfully time and time again.
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