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Combating Ebola: Cameroon listed for clinical trials

The CPDM government has decided that the new vaccine, Chad3-Ebo-Z that is supposed to give immunity against Ebola should be tested on 400 Cameroonians. The minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda revealed that Cameroon is now listed among the five selected countries for phase II clinical trials. 

The new vaccine trial operation enjoys the approval of the National Ethics Committee and the Operational Research Division of the Ministry of Public Health of Cameroon hinted Minister Fouda. In case of unexpected serious adverse reactions, the CPDM government has reassured Cameroonians that, an insurance policy has been gotten to support or compensate candidates. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola epidemic has killed 2097 in West Africa.

Laboratory technicians have been introduced to the use and operation of new diagnostic equipment. During a scientific symposium that convened technicians from across Africa in Douala on October 23, experts in the sector operating under the umbrella of Sysmex/Partec in Europe revealed the advantages of the new malaria and HIV/AIDS diagnostic equipment: “With advanced technology we have the accuracy of information improved, provide more reliability, trustworthy and reproducibility; they are cost-effective but robost in that they are strong and powerful to be used where power supply is not stable, and the company provides after-sales support through training.

Participants came from Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, South Africa, Cameroon, and Germany. Africa is becoming our centre of focus and we are bringing high-tech equipment to Africa,” says Jorsten Reinecke of Sysmex Germany. He said the equipment and their accessories are on display in Douala by its local representative Santec. While addressing reporters in Akwa earlier on, Prof. Léopold Lehman, President of the Douala-based Santec - a local fusion of Sysmex (Japanese company specialised in the manufacture of diagnostic equipment) and Partec - said its main mission in Africa is to seek the advancement of health care: “We are here to hold this symposium to ensure that professionals in the medical laboratory have the best possible information for patient management.” Ghanaian-born Eric Osei Asante observed that in some African countries, less than 5 per cent of the health budget is spent on laboratory testing whereas over 70 per cent decisions by medical doctors depend on laboratory or clinical testing.

Combating HIV/AIDS: G.H.S Joss Students Screened

Numerous HIV/AIDS campaigns over the years have raised awareness among young people. However, an increasing number of children are now victims of the disease that is known to be transmitted mostly through sexual intercourse. It is for this reason that the Cameroonian Association for Social Marketing, ACMS, which seeks to fight the pandemic in youth between 15 and 24 years, organised a free and voluntary HIV/AIDS screening in Lycée Joss, Douala. 

It was to enable students know their status and take action. The exercise, under the aegis of “Forum régional des jeunes de la Cemac en lutte contre le sida,” Prejes, saw the screening of hundreds of students less than 15 years old. Most of them who took the test for the first time had no fright in them since they were counselled before screening.

Scientists might have accidentally made a huge step forward in the search for a cure for cancer — discovering unexpectedly that a malaria protein could be an effective weapon against the disease. Danish researchers were hunting for a way of protecting pregnant women from malaria, which can cause huge problems because it attacks the placenta. But they found at the same time that armed malaria proteins can kill cancer — an approach which could be a step towards curing the disease. The malaria vaccine can be used to bury into cancer cells and release a toxin, killing them off. It does the same to placentas, and it can’t distinguish between the two.

The scientists have found that in both cases the malria protein attaches itself to the same carbohydrate. It is the similarities between those two things that the cure could exploit. The carbohydrate ensures that the placenta grows quickly. But the team behind the new findings have detailed how it serves the same function in tumours — and the malaria parasite attaches itself to the cancerous cells in the same way, meaning that it can kill them off. Scientists said that they had been searching for a long time for a way to exploit the similarities between the placenta and the tumour. "For decades, scientists have been searching for similarities between the growth of a placenta and a tumor,” said Ali Salanti from University of Copenhagen. “The placenta is an organ, which within a few months grows from only few cells into an organ weighing approx. two pounds, and it provides the embryo with oxygen and nourishment in a relatively foreign environment. In a manner of speaking, tumors do much the same, they grow aggressively in a relatively foreign environment.” 

The process has already been tested in cells and on mice with cancer, with the findings described in a new article for the journal Cancer Cell. Scientists hope that they can begin testing the discovery on humans in the next four years. The biggest questions are whether it'll work in the human body, and if the human body can tolerate the doses needed without developing side effects,” said Salanti. “But we're optimistic because the protein appears to only attach itself to a carbohydrate that is only found in the placenta and in cancer tumors in humans.” In the tests on mice, the animals were implanted with three different types of human cancers. It reduced non-Hodgkin's lymphoma tumours to about a quarter of their size, got rid of protstate cancer entirely in two of six mice and kept alive five out of six mice that had metastatic bone cancer compared to a control group all of which died. "We have separated the malaria protein, which attaches itself to the carbohydrate and then added a toxin," said Mads Daugaard, a cancer researcher at Canada's University of British Columbia and one of the scientists that worked on the research. "By conducting tests on mice, we have been able to show that the combination of protein and toxin kill the cancer cells."

UK: Ebola Nurse critically ill

Pauline Cafferkey, the nurse being treated for Ebola, has "deteriorated" and is "critically ill", says the Royal Free Hospital. A military plane flew her from Glasgow to London on Friday after an "unusual late complication" caused her to fall ill again. It was thought she had recovered from the virus. "We are sad to announce that Pauline Cafferkey's condition has deteriorated and she is now critically ill," said a statement. "She is being treated for Ebola in the high level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital." Ms Cafferkey contracted the disease after treating patients in Sierra Leone at the height of the outbreak, which has killed more than 11,000 people. She was first treated at the Royal Free Hospital in December and discharged in January. 

Traces of the deadly virus can remain in parts of the body despite the patients having apparently recovered. Doctors "missed a big opportunity" to notice Ms Cafferkey had become unwell again, her family have claimed. Her sister, Toni Cafferkey, called it "absolutely diabolical" that a GP in Glasgow had sent her home after she went to an after-hours clinic. The 39-year-old from South Lanarkshire won a Pride of Britain award last month and met the Prime Minister's wife Samantha Cameron at Downing Street.

Twenty-five people recently treated by the nurse have been getting an experimental vaccination, having had close contact with her bodily fluids. In total, 58 people are being monitored. Last week the three countries at the centre of the Ebola epidemic recorded their first week with no new cases since March 2014. A Save The Children report said Ms Cafferkey was probably infected because she had used a visor to protect her face after struggling to get her goggles to fit.

The Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda has chaired a meeting to launch a project to control and eliminate the five recurrent Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Cameroon. The project dubbed “Countdown” is a UK-funded implementation research programme which is operational in three other African countries – Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria. Minister Andre Mama Fouda expressed appreciation to the Ministry’s partners for designing the project.

The Minister stated that Cameroon has registered progress in the fight against NTDs but maintained much work still has to be done. The Country Manager of Countdown, Professor Louis-Albert Tchuem-Tchuente revealed that new methods are being applied to intensify the fight. Some of these methods included the treatment of infected pre-school age children and adults, sensitisation on improved hygiene and disinfecting of risk zones. 

The Programme Director, Russell Stothard for his part assured the Cameroon government that his team of medical parasitologists are determine to control the spread of NTDs and eliminate them where possible. Neglected Tropical Diseases are a varied group of infectious diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical regions. They are responsible for a huge percentage of ill health and physical disabilities worldwide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified 17 of such diseases worldwide with 10 predominant in Africa and Cameroon.

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Cameroon Concord  is an online publication covering and reporting on  local and world news, sports, entertainment, politics, business, and religious news. Serving Cameroonians .



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