To support capacity building and development of improved malaria diagnostics, BVGH facilitated the placement of Wellington Oyibo at Novartis’ headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, for three months. Wellington Oyibo worked alongside Novartis scientists to identify biomarkers of malaria and other febrile illnesses and assist in diagnostic development for complicated and uncomplicated malaria. Wellington Oyibo also utilized Novartis’ laboratory equipment and expertise to perform DNA extraction, sequencing, and pharmacokinetic studies on parasitized blood samples from his laboratory in Lagos. Further, Wellington Oyibo learned about product pipeline development processes and management, clinical trial conduct, and the governance of knowledge and intellectual property.
Accurate diagnosis of malaria and other parasitic diseases is challenging in field settings. Expensive, non-transportable equipment is usually required, significantly limiting timely diagnoses. In an effort to address this, Dr. Prakash developed the Foldscope, a lightweight, durable, inexpensive microscope made out of paper. The Foldscope provides sufficient magnification to diagnose several parasitic diseases including Malaria, HAT, leishmaniasis, and Schistosomiasis. Dr. Oyibo leads the ANDI Center of Excellence for Malaria Diagnosis at the University of Lagos, and hosted Dr. Prakash and his colleagues in Nigeria, providing plasma and whole blood samples from Plasmodium-infected individuals to test the Foldscope’s efficacy for Malaria diagnosis. While in Nigeria, the Stanford investigators also conducted training workshops on the Foldscope, and received input from infectious disease pathologists to further inform development of the technology. Plasma and whole blood samples to test the efficacy of a point-of-care microscopy diagnostic tool; hosting of Stanford researchers at University of Lagos for research and training; expertise sharing and feedback from infectious disease pathologists at the University of Lagos regarding Foldscope development.
A University of Lagos researcher will provide a McGill University researcher with blood samples from Malaria patients with varying levels of parasitemia. The McGill researcher will use the blood to evaluate the sensitivity of a Malaria diagnostic that he is developing.
A University of Lagos researcher provided a UBC researcher with serum, plasma, and urine samples from patients with severe malaria and asymptomatic malaria, as well as samples from healthy controls. The UBC researcher used proteomics to ascertain whether these samples had differing protein profiles, which could be used to identify biomarkers for a malaria diagnostic.
Dr. Chen developed a PCR assay to identify resistance-causing mutations in Plasmodium parasite genes. Dr. Oyibo was interested in identifying specific mutations in Plasmodium parasites known to cause drug resistance in Nigerian patients, information that could potentially inform antimalarial treatment policy. With funding from NIPD, a graduate student from Dr. Oyibo’s laboratory spent two months at NIPD training on the PCR assay with samples collected from malaria patients in Nigeria. Using Dr. Chen’s assay, the student screened the samples for P. falciparum mutations conferring resistance to drugs.
Dr. Oyibo was interested in determining which infectious agents (besides malaria) caused febrile illnesses in patients of Lagos state. BVGH connected Dr. Oyibo with Dr. Pinsky, who had developed a highly sensitive real-time RT-PCR-based molecular diagnostic platform that detected and distinguished nucleic acids from dengue virus and Plasmodium parasites. BVGH facilitated the placement of a graduate student from Dr. Oyibo’s laboratory in Dr. Pinsky’s laboratory at Stanford to advance her education and training. Using the multiplex assay to screen Dr. Oyibo’s plasma and whole blood samples from patients with malarial and non-malarial fevers, the student confirmed malaria diagnoses in a significant number of samples that had tested negative by microscopy.
A University of Lagos researcher provided Novartis with dry blood spots from malaria patients. Novartis assessed the feasibility of using dried blood spot sampling (DBSS) and next generation sequencing of Plasmodium falciparum in malaria patients in Nigeria.
A UBC researcher provided a University of Lagos researcher with an antibody against a human host protein. The University of Lagos researcher used the antibody to examine the effect of reducing the level of the host protein on the severity of malaria.