Noguchi Institute discovers cure for sleeping sickness

SleepingThe Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), on Thursday announced the discovery of novel compounds for the potential treatment of trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness).

The discovery is the result of a research into plant medicines on: “Studies of anti-viral and anti-parasitic compounds,” under a project between the Institute and Japanese scientists with sponsorship of the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

Professor Kwabena Mante Bosompem, Deputy Director of NMIMR made the announcement at a day’s workshop organised by the NMIMR and the Japanese Government’s Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) in Accra as part of activities marking the 65th anniversary of the University of Ghana.

The workshop which was on the theme: “Establishment of effective research network for infectious diseases and medical plants in Ghana,” was attended by academicians from Ghana and Japan.

Prof Bosompem noted that the NMIMR has a vibrant programme in the area of medicines research and is desirous of putting the resources at its disposal to investigate the various medical claims on the market and to develop new products in the face of increased resistance of various pathogens to available medications.

“What we seek to do is to establish partnerships and collaboration with potential stakeholders in the conduct of preclinical and early phase clinical studies,” he stated.

Prof Bosompem said herbal medicine had its roots at the very beginning of human history, on every continent and enthusiasm for the ancient form of medicine had never been less.

Prof John Owusu Agyapong, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana observed that a lot of work had been done trying to advance the role of herbal medicine.

He said in the past, Ghana Health Service (GES) had a challenge in placing the first batch of herbal medicine graduates from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in the healthcare delivery system.

He urged stakeholders to find the way forward in resolving challenges to the use of herbal medicine, adding that one critical challenge is the dosage for the products.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor said: “As an academic community, we need to develop the policy of patency for our work.

“The Institute needs to be applauded for developing a chemical compound which has the potential treatment of trypanosomiasis.”

He urged researchers not to rush to the media with their findings but rather develop its patency before going public.

The Pro-Vice Chancellor pledged the University’s support to the Institute towards the development of the patent for the novel compound.

Dr Samuel Kaba, Deputy Director of GHS in-charge of Institutional Services on Thursday said research is the gateway to development, hence the need for government to prioritise it.

The Japanese Ambassador Naoto Nikai in a speech read on his behalf said the project would continue to contribute to improve healthcare delivery not only in Ghana but to neighbouring countries.

Prof Shoji Yamaoka, Chief Advisor of SATREPS said: “While the goal of scientific research of medical plants is straight forward, achieving it is not; it requires interdisciplinary fields and continued strong support by governments.”

Mr Jiro Inamura, Chief Representative of the JICA pledged the continued support of the Agency to the Institute.

Source: GNA

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