Health

In search of an HIV vaccine

Carolyn Williamson, University of Cape Town Robert Johnston, University of North Carolina Michelle Galloway, Medical Research Council, SA Why a vaccine? It's 20 years since the first evidence of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and the discovery of the virus that causes this clinical syndrome, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Since then, over 60 million people have become infected, 40 million of whom are currently living with HIV - 70% of them in Africa.

New hope for treating chronic mysterious illnesses

Andrew Mitchell, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg Dr Andrew Mitchell is a senior lecturer at the University of Natal specialising in molecular phylogenetics. In this curtain raiser article he outlines the role the young science of bioinformatics plays in his field of research. In future articles we will highlight where and how this science is already changing the lives of people on our continent. An unconscious patient lies on her back on a plastic-looking bed.

A male contraceptive?

MRC News Scientists may be one step closer to finding a chemical male contraceptive. Preliminary results on a compound isolated from indigenous plants look very promising. Ever since the revolutionary female contraceptive pill in the 1960s, scientists have been working on the same for the male of the species, but to no avail. But preliminary work on a plant extract by scientists at the MRC and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) might prove to be a step in the right direction. The plant extract is found in cloves and also in several Cape indigenous plant species. Mr. Mongezi Mdhluli of...

Heart Research in Africa - Responding to our Future Epidemic

Dr Michael Sack "We've found out that if a heart is exposed to ischaemia only for a short while, so that no cells die, the heart actually becomes more resistant to heart attacks. So now, using genetically manipulated mouse models, we can find out what the molecular mechanism of this resistance is - ultimately designing medication that can have the same effect." The incidence of cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis (heart attacks and strokes) has begun to rise in the developing regions of Africa.

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