O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative

Research chair name: O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chair in Nanoscience, Nanotechnology and Pheroid technology for Enhanced Antimalarial Drug Efficacy and Optimized Agricultural products in the Sub-Saharan Region: Towards Better Health and Sustainable Agriculture

Malaria is a serious infectious disease particularly in Africa where the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 92% of global cases occurring in the continent (WHO Malaria report, 2017). The fight against the disease is at a critical point with an estimated 2 million increase in global cases between 2016 and 2017 alone. This possible resurgence of malaria spells a looming crisis in human health, especially in the resource limited countries of the sub Saharan region. Reports of Plasmodium resistance to Artemisinin in Asia are rife and being the epicenter of antimalarial drug resistance in previous decades, there is a high chance of imminent spread of resistant Plasmodium species to the African continent.

Despite this great resource, there has been no novel drug(s) discovered for malaria management in any country from the region. However, several research institutions in the region have identified lead compounds that have demonstrated excellent activity against Plasmodium parasites. Unfortunately, these compounds have been unable to continue their journey to drug development because of known shortcomings. To overcome these challenges, the research chair will use nanotechnology and pheroid technology to improve bioavailability by enhance delivery, reduce toxicity and hence optimize pharmacological effects of these drug.

Approach: The project is implemented at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) through its Chairholder Prof. Hulda Swai .

The projected is funded by the partnership between South Africa’s National Research Foundation and Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, and the national research grantmaking councils of the countries with chairholders.

Overall Objective

The overall objective of the project is to develop as well as to enhance Antimalarial Drug Efficacy and Optimize Agricultural products through application of Nanoscience, Nanotechnology and Pheroid technology towards achieving Better Health and Sustainable Agriculture in the Sub-Saharan Region.

Specific Objectives

  • To lobby for the development of national policies of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Tanzania and the Region;
  • To build human capacity by initiating postgraduate programs in Nanoscience and nanotechnology for the region;
  • To conduct research and promote use of Nanoscience, nanotechnology and pheroid technology in Antimalarial drug development and drug delivery, value addition to agricultural crops and products;
  • To patent identified and enhanced antimalarial drug leads and optimized agricultural products and establish partner companies for commercialization of products from objective (iii) above