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Scientists advocate more molecular biologists, adopt QPCR to boost disease diagnosis, treatment

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Scientists have called for capacity development in molecular biology to help Nigeria achieve personalised medicine management in identifying and treating disease accurately.

They lamented that there are no sufficient molecular biologists to carry out research that help in diagnosing a particular microorganism causing diseases as well as suitable drugs for treatment.

Speaking on the importance of having personalised medicine in the country, the Director General, Institute of Medical Research, (NIMR), Prof. Babatunde Salako, who was represented by the Deputy Director General, and Director of Research, Nkiruka Odunukwe, said as the world is tending towards personalised medicine, it is only with the knowledge of molecular biology that it can achieve, which means that “when somebody is ill or have a particular disease, with the knowledge of molecular biology, the organisms that is causing the ailments and where it is can be identified directly and the drugs that will be effective to destroy that disease where it is hiding will be formulated and used for the treatment of that sick person and that particular ailment.”

She lamented that as of now, most disease are being treated with drugs that have multiple activities, which can affect both diseased cells and non-diseased cell.

Odunukwe noted that most anti-tumor drugs, while they are killing the tumor cells, are also destroying rapidly growing normal cells, which is why some people after undergoing chemotherapy, lose their hair because the drug was not specific and personalised.She added that with molecular biology, scientists could identify the particular gene that has the problem, and then address it with a personalised drug without destroying other normal cells.

The Project Coordinator, African Centre for Excellence in Neglected Tropical Disease and Forensic Biotechnology, (ACENTDFB), Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Junaidu Kabir, said the methods of molecular biology have being used to improve, not only healthcare delivery, but other aspects of life including education, agriculture, among others.

He said training more manpower and developing capacity would improve the way Nigerian scientists detect diseases, deliver healthcare and other services, which would also uplift the level of development in Nigeria.Kabir further urged the government to create an enabling environment in various ways, where equipment and facilities would be available in laboratories and also for relevant private sector partners to be able to thrive, noting that all the materials needed are imported with few companies taking risk to import.

He, however, added that government’s support would help the provision of research materials and consumables easily for the researchers, the academic institutions and also for other people that are working in the sector.

Speaking on the importance of molecular techniques in enabling proper diagnosis and administering of appropriate drugs, the Technical Sales Specialist, Molecular Biology Africa, Thermo Fisher Scientific, South Africa, Christian Dutoziet, said everybody has different body chemistry which affects drug reaction to ailments, explaining that when two people are diagnosed of the same ailment and given the same drugs, one heals faster than the other due to the DNA structure.

He said molecular technique helps in appropriate diagnosis of diseases, such as cancer, tuberculosis and other deadly diseases as well as identifying personalised medicine to aid treatment, which he said would reduce mortality in the country.

“We want to cure these disease as fast as possible with molecular techniques,” he said.Also, the Coordinator, African Centre for Excellence in Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology, NIMR, Dr. Stella Smith said when there is an increase in the number of molecular biologists in the country; there would be accurate and proper diagnosis of diseases, which she said would thwart mortality

“The workshop is meant to reach out to people to build their capacity, improve diagnostics means of detection of diseases, especially the Trypanosoma brucei. With molecular techniques done by these biologists, the country stands to gain a lot, as organisms would be easily identified through their DNA, as well as improve diagnosis and early detection of disease, which in turn prevents mortality,” she maintained.She said with the Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (QPCR), the organisms would be identified in real-time.


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Babatunde SalakoQPCR
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