By Emmanuel Edukugho
A breakthrough in malaria control and eradication has been achieved at Covenant University, Ota, where researchers led by Professor Ezekiel Femi Adebiyi have developed tools among which is an evolution – proof insecticide designed to be equipped with the effective capability of DDT but to target only malaria infected mosquitoes. This way, notwithstanding several breeding area, after deployment, Nigeria will soon have mosquitoes free of malaria.
At the 1st inaugural lecture series of Covenant University delivered recently, Professor Adebiyi, Head, Department of Computer and Information Science, College of Science and technology, noted that for now, the goal of most current National Malaria Prevention and Control Programmes and Most Malaria activities conducted in endemic countries is to reduce the number of malaria-related cases and deaths. To reduce malaria transmission to a level where it is no longer a public health problem is the goal of what is called malaria “control.”
Applying a Bioinformatics approach in malaria control and eradication, he submitted that the overall goal of this project is to produce effective two high tech productions for the control and final eradication of malaria starting with Nigeria.
“Therefore, our first targeted product (from project 1), a cuisine of anti-malaria drugs (design and production cost is expected to be cheap, to enhance national large scale usage possibility, for example, should be embedded into the household salt) is to allow rapid cure of malaria in humans. this is to reduce to zero the chance of an uninfected mosquitoes to be infected after a bite. The second targeted product (from project 11), an advanced but human friendly pesticide DDT (a cocktail f agents) is to help delete rapidly all malaria infected mosquitoes.”
He assured that the expected result of the successful execution and application of their work will make Nigeria and eventually Africa free of malaria infected humans and mosquitoes like the western world.
According to this young erudite scholar in his lecture titled – Code Malaria: Eradication Developments for the Decade, he noted that, “our products move from three processing phases that include bronze, silver and gold. At the latest (gold) stage, the product is ready for large production and commercialisation.”
As regards to Bioinformatics in drugs development, Bioinformatics is described as an emerging field and is the modelling and application of computational techniques to solving labourious biology problems, beginning with the like of proteins alignment to the more rigorous like of protein 3D structures prediction and molecular recognition of protein ligand complexes. Nowadays, the application of computer science to biology can be summarised in the following quotes: “Computers are to biology what Mathematics is to Physics” — Harold Morowitz.
Adebiyi acknowledged that there is a new renewed effort to identify new insecticidal compounds for use in malaria control. This is particularly urgent based on the rate at which resistance is emerging against available compounds. Presently, insecticides recommended for malaria control by the World Health Organisation (WHO) represent just four classes of compound for IRS and just one class of compounds for ITNs.
Noting the success in the eradication of malaria from North America, Europe and Australia via the use of DDT, the purpose of the project is to identify and validate evolution – proof insecticidal targets in A. gambiae mosquito. “Put in the language of DDT, we aimed to design a modified DDT that will not harm humans and vital species and will be devoid of any resistance mechanism attempts of the mosquitoes.”
Adebiyi disclosed that The Code Malaria will be ready for full deployment after the completion of the two targeted product (from project1), a cuisine of antimalaria drugs and an advanced but human friendly pesticide in the version of DDT (a cocktail f agents) from project II).
“The final goal is to ensure that in this decade, Africa and infact, where ever malaria is a menace, this becomes a forgotten headache as we presently have in the western countries,” he concluded. The Chancellor, Dr. David Oyedepo, said he is impressed, not surprise as it was expected, because if you are not solving problem, then you cannot add value to human life.
“I’m a believer of indigenous solution to our problems. Each one has power to add value to life, each one finds solution,. Until Africa finds solutions to its problems, we will remain impoverished for ever. It’s enormous work by this erudite scholar who has ability to carry everyone along.”
Describing malaria as a killer disease which has killed more people than cancer, Oyedepo pledged his support for the project.