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New Malaria Vector Discovered As NIMR Seeks Funding To Curb Marburg Virus


Prof. Babatunde Salako, the Director General, Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), has emphasised the necessity for adequate funding to tackle Marburg Virus as he disclosed that a new malaria vector called Anopheles Stephensi has been discovered in northern Nigeria.

As he fielded questions from journalists during his 63rd birthday in Lagos, he described the new vector as rugged, which has not been found anywhere in West Africa. He revealed that NIMR researchers carried out the discovery.

He said funding must be provided to research into Marburg in the area of disease surveillance, prevention, detection, and treatment.

He also said attention must be paid to diseases like cholera, tuberculosis, cancer, Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), hypertension, and diabetes to improve the nation’s health indices. He also advised anybody that has a persistent fever to visit the doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Regarding the development of the vaccine, he said that the NIMR is working with five groups in a consortium to develop local vaccines in Nigeria.

Speaking on his birthday, he noted, “I believe my appointment here is a call to duty. When I got here, the idea was to improve the place and make it better than I met it. And that was the driving force—to make a difference not just in the life of the people but also in the life of the institution. One thing I always tell members of staff is you must learn to treat people well and provide a level playing ground. I also tell them to be transparent in whatever they do.”

The members of staff also described him as a great leader whose life is worthy of emulation. They said his six years at NIMR have brought great transformation.

Specifically, Dr. Samuel Amoo, Chairman Academic Staff Union of Research and other Allied Institutions (ASURRI) said, “Prof. Salako is a game changer, so competent that you don’t need to voice it. He is open and transparent. He is a mentor that does not only tell you what to do but shows you how to do it.”

He added that in the past six years, the NIMR has witnessed exponential growth both in human and infrastructural development.

“We are scientists and researchers with pride that have prerequisite tools to get things done. In-depth scientific research could be undertaken in the central laboratory. If you want to go into personalised medicine, NIMR is equipped enough to serve you.”