South Africa launches malaria research initiative
(7 February 06)
>from the African Centre for Gene Techologies
South Africa ’s Department of Science and Technology has committed R 11.5 million over the next two-and-a-half years to support collaborative research programmes at the new South African Malaria Initiative (SAMI), launched by Science and Technology Minister Mosibudi Mangena in February.
Director of the African Centre for Gene Technologies Jane Morris, who created SAMI, told the magazine Business Day that the initiative aimed to encourage collaboration between local researchers and forge links with scientists in Africa and further afield.
According to the ACGT, SAMI's three major research programmes were the discovery of new drug targets and lead molecules; the development of robust, rapid malaria diagnostic tests; and improved molecular epidemiology and understanding of the parasite-vector interaction. Plans to 2010 include the development of one new diagnostic assay, new methods for the detection of Plasmodium falciparum in mosquito salivary glands, and validation of at least one new drug target.
The initiative will draw on local expertise from universities, the Medical Research Council, the National Health Laboratory Services and the National Institute of Communicable Diseases. The institute is expected to leverage further funds from several international donors, Business Day reported.