Director–General, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research, Prof. Babatunde Salako, has urged scientists to build capacity for improved diagnoses of diseases in the country.
Salako said this at the Annual Molecular Biology Workshop organised by the Molecular Department of the Institute in Lagos.
The NIMR boss pointed out that scientists need not wait for an outbreak of disease or an epidemic before they proffer solutions to public health challenges.
He said, “We have the capacity and expertise to do research at molecular levels in this institute. I want to encourage microbiologists and biochemists to tap into these resources. We are looking at the relevance of biotechnology and proteins in making diagnosis of diseases either caused by bacteria, viruses and other infection.
“This is because, when there is an outbreak and we want to determine the cause, the molecular and biotechnology department can test samples to determine the agent that is responsible. This diagnosis would help clinicians to determine the most effective way to treat such diseases.
“If it is a poison, scientists will also be able to determine its contents and this will help the doctor to determine what treatment will work.”
Also, speaking at the workshop, Prof. Addmore Shonai of the University of Venda, South Africa called for international collaboration between scientists for more impactful research.
Shonai said that such partnerships, especially among African scientists, would encourage the development of home-grown solutions to health challenges facing the continent.
He said, “Scientists tend to work in isolation. We keep to themselves in our laboratories. But we must learn that knowledge needs to be shared. We cannot take all the glory of experiments and breakthroughs; we must share ideas across borders.”
The workshop coordinator, Dr Stella Smith, said the conference, themed “Protein Expression,” was aimed at building capacity for scientists on current methods in molecular biology and ethical challenges in genetic research, among other sub-themes.
She said, “We want to know the molecular methods that we can use to diagnose diseases. Proteins have a great deal to do with this. They do all the essential work for the cell. They build cellular structures, execute metabolic functions, digest nutrients and mediate information flow within a cell and its other communities. They also work together with other proteins or nucleic acids as ‘molecular machines’. They are the ‘engines’ of the cell that makes life to exist.”
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NIMR seeks improved diagnoses of diseases