UNIJOS records breakthrough in malaria therapy
On February 23, 2012 · In News

By Taye Obateru
Jos—University of Jos has recorded a major breakthrough in the successful cultivation of Artemisia Annua, a major component of the combination therapies currently adjudged to be the best cure for malaria worldwide.

The university, through a research funded under the Science and Technology for Post-Basic Education, STEP-B, project of the Federal Ministry of Education and the World Bank, has established the viability of local production of the plant. The seeds were procured from China.

Vice Chancellor of UNIJOS, Prof. Hayward Mafuyai, said the university successfully cultivated and produced 283 kilogrammes of dry leaves and 48 kilogrammes of seeds from three and half hectares farm at Gangnim in Langtang South Local Government Area of the state.

He said the dried leaves of Artemisia annua have been tested by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, and other national and international scientists, who confirmed that it had a higher strain of the active ingredients than those produced in other parts of the world.

He said: “What we have achieved in simple terms is that we have confirmed the viability of the production of this wonder plant in Nigeria where malaria scourge is massive.

“Local farmers in the area can now also grow this plant as a source of revenue for their families, while helping to service the raw material needs of pharmaceutical industries.”

We consider this a major breakthrough.”

Pro. Mafuyai added that the project had been reported in a number of conferences and published in some journals to share the result of the research with the world.

He said: “The next level of work required is for pharmaceutical companies to partner with the Univer-sity of Jos and local farmers to acquire adequate quantity of the plant and engage in local production for treatment of malaria.

”This will surely stimulate the local pharmaceutical industry and bring down the cost of anti-malaria drugs. It will also check the problem of fake drugs that are currently being imported.”

The vice chancellor described the achieve-ment as “an example of the role funding can play in enabling scholars carry out studies that will improve the standard of living.”

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