Tag: malaria

Maths and numbers

data

Big data is in. It’s in vogue. Data science has been touted as the sexiest career of the 21st century.

James Mburu loves numbers. He is currently a statistician for a Contract Research Organisation (CRO) that offers statistical consultancy amidst other services such as clinical trial reporting, medical writing and data management services.

He did his undergraduate studies at Moi University in Applied Statistics with computing. He later undertook an MSc in Statistics with a biostatistics bias from Hasselt University. Continue reading “Maths and numbers”

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Could it be the end of malaria?

mosquito-dna

According to WHO, a child dies every minute in Africa due to malaria, that is roughly half a million lives. It is clearly a problem that needs addressing.

Malaria is spread by the Anopheles mosquito when it’s infected by the Plasmodium parasite. Research has shown that disruption of some genes would render the female Anopheles sterile or affect its ability to carry the parasite. But Mendelian laws (remember high school biology Mendel?) restrict the ability of this resistance gene to be inherited to only about half of the mosquito offspring. Gene drive circumvents this and ensures that almost all the offspring and future generations inherit a trait.  This is made possible with the discovery of the century, a technique called CRISPR/ Cas9 that I hope to cover here soon. Continue reading “Could it be the end of malaria?”

Grave future of antibiotics

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John had recently been complaining of abdominal pains and upon hospital examination was scheduled for an appendectomy – removal of the appendix. It is ideally a low risk surgery. However, he did not make it out of the hospital due to a post-surgical bacterial infection.

This is a hypothetical scenario but we are most certainly inching closer to it if the current trend of antibiotic abuse continues. First line drugs for diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis are quickly becoming ineffectual. A small graze on your leg might be the reason for an amputation because there will be no drugs to keep infections at bay. We will drop like flies and leave earth in very undignified ways.

Antibiotic resistance comes about when bacteria mutate; rendering the drugs previously used against them either ineffective or less effective. It is currently classified as a serious threat to global public health by the World Health Organization. In retrospect, no antibiotic has been discovered in the past approximately 25 years. Continue reading “Grave future of antibiotics”