CSIR develops low-cost Aids drug

first_imgSouth Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a low-cost method of manufacturing the antiretrovirals used to treat HIV/Aids, paving the way for more extensive HIV treatment across Africa.The CSIR’s new technique will reduce the production costs of thymidine, a valuable ingredient in the antiretroviral (ARV) drugs AZT and stavudine. The two generic drugs are used in combination therapy treatment of HIV/Aids.By using two drugs of different classes, combination therapy minimises both HIV virus resistance to ARVs and the development of serious side-effects. Because of this, it is the preferred method of ARV administration.Until now, Indian drug manufacturers supported by state subsidies have offered the most competitively priced active pharmaceutical ingredients, and so dominated the global market.The CSIR’s breakthrough will now allow for the production of thymidine at a fraction lower than the Indian market.According to Dr Moira Bode, who led the CSIR project probing the low-cost production of ARVs, this research could stimulate establishment of an industry for local production of active pharmaceutical ingredients.“This will empower African governments to supply more people with the life-saving drugs,”  Bode said.The CSIR-developed technology relies on a biocatalytic step to produce thymidine. The research included total development of the biocatalysis reaction to produce 5-methyluridine as well as the chemistry to convert 5-methyluridine to thymidine.“This involved, among other things, initial screening work to identify useful enzymes, the fermentations to produce enzymes and the process development for scale-up of the biocatalytic reaction, as well as the chemistry,” said Bode.“The entire process was scaled at the CSIR to produce thymidine at kilogram scale.”The CSIR has filed a patent application on the technology and a new market player in antiretroviral manufacturing, Arvir Technologies, has been granted the commercial rights.The company will explore various options, including granting licences to existing ARV active pharmaceutical ingredient producers, and establishing a new ARV pharmaceutical ingredients facility for South Africa.“We need to ensure that South Africa has an economically sustainable and well-secured supply of high quality ARVs,” ,” said Dr David Walwyn, CEO of Arvir. “Negotiations are presently underway with government.”Dr Gatsha Mazithulela, executive director of the CSIR Biosciences research unit, said South Africa’s high HIV prevalence rate made low-cost ARVs essential.“In South Africa, with the number of people requiring ARV drugs estimated at approaching 1 million [where the CD4 count of the individual is less than 200], the local manufacturing of these drugs is an imperative,” he said.“Ironically, now that the science has been done, the challenge is to find commercial partners willing to invest in manufacturing. We look forward to interesting conversations with our government and other stakeholders in making local production of ARVs a reality.”Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected] linksCouncil for Scientific and Industrial ResearchArvir Technologieslast_img read more

Independent Power Producers chosen

first_img“The success of renewable energy hinges on the financial sector,” she said, adding that bidders that were having trouble before the financial close to speak up. “I would want to appeal to those bidders that are already experiencing challenges to come to the fore. It is an appeal for the benefit of the number of jobs that will not be realised if there’s no financial support,” said Peters. In December, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) announced that it will finance 12 of the 28 preferred bidders to contribute to the country’s energy mix. The financing will be to the tune of R5.2-billion. Meanwhile, Peters said the department has started talking to financial institutions. “Job creation per province, we’ve seen a small reduction from bid window 1 but the bidders have indicated that on the total 7 059 jobs created in the construction period and 328 jobs created in the operation of the life of the plant,” said Magubane. “In this window, the department received 79 bids of which 51 met the qualification criteria as per the Request for Proposals. Given the megawatts limitation and competition, only 19 bidders were selected as preferred bidders for Window 2,” Energy Minister Dipuo Peters said in Pretoria on Monday. Growing the economy In the first window some of the challenges faced by bidders were that they had trouble reaching the financial close, of which June is the financial close for window1 project proposals. The minister said there had been informal conversation regarding companies experiencing financial strain. “With them not coming to the fore this would mean that we’re not going to deliver on the megawatts that we want,” she said. According to the IRP2010 – which is a 20-year projection on electricity supply and demand – about 42% of electricity generated in South Africa is required to come from renewable resources. The department has set aside 100MW of the 3 725MW for smaller projects of less than 5MW. Of the selected bidders, nine were selected for the solar photovoltaic technology, seven for wind, two for small hydro and one for concentrated solar thermal (CSP). 23 May 2012 Additionally there have been significant increases in the local content from 28.5% in window 1 to 47.5% in bid window 2 in solar photovoltaic technology. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) places specific emphasis on broadening electricity supply technologies to include gas, imports, nuclear, biomass, renewables (wind, solar and hydro), in response to both the country’s future electricity needs as well as reduce its CO2 emissions. For small hydro 13.3MW has been taken up from a maximum allocated for round 2 at 75MW while for CSP the allocated maximum 50MW has been taken up. In the 2nd window a total 1 043.9MW has been taken up by bidders. Ompie Aphane, Deputy Director General for Electricity, Nuclear and Clean Energy at the department said the department was not sure of the amount of projects that were in financial strain. Last year, the Department of Energy announced 28 preferred bidders, out of a total of 53 applications for the IPP bid process in the first window. Japser Power Company, Solar Capital De Aar 3 and Sishen Solar Facility were among the bidders selected for solar photovoltaic technology; while West Coast 1 and Grassridge form part of the 7 selected for wind and Stortemelk Hydro (Pty) Ltd and Neusberg Hydro Electric Project A were selected for small hydro. For CSP Bokpoort CSP project was selected. The department has noted that under window 2, the level of commitment to economic development has improved compared to window 1. “More communities will benefit through employment or as shareholding in these projects,” said the minister, adding that most bidders in window 2 will establish community trusts aimed at developing surrounding communities.center_img What the department had noted, said Director General Nelisiwe Magubane, was that there were “significant” changes in several areas like pricing whereby in solar photovoltaic in window 1 on average was at about 2.75 per kWh. “We’ve seen a significant reduction in price of about R1.65 per kWh for window 2,” she said. Projects allocated The department has yet to decide on when bidding will commence for projects to take part in window 3. A full list of bidders is available on the Independent Power Producers programme website. Peters said government saw the programme as an opportunity to grow the economy given the numbers of unemployed people while the procurement of alternative energy is also aimed at alleviating energy constraints. Appeal to financial sector Integrated Resource Plan For Solar photovoltaic 417MW have been taken up by bidders with the maximum MW allocated for round 2 at 450; for wind 562.5MW has been taken up with the maximum allocation at 650MW. The names of 19 bidders – who have been selected as the preferred bidders for Window 2 of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers (IPP) programme that will contribute to South Africa’s energy mix – were announced on Monday. The bidding for window 2 closed on 5 March with the total 79 bids received. These bids amount to 3 255MW while the cap was at 1 275MW. Source: BuaNews Peters appealed to the country’s financial sector to provide financing to bidders. South Africa wants to procure 3 725MW of renewable energy through this process. The programme also seeks to make provision for local content in the provision of alternative energy sources while the bids were evaluated by technical, financial, legal and international reviewers. The minister called on prospective bidders for the remaining three windows that they need not necessary own the land on which projects will operate on. Bidders could co-exist. “We don’t want to lose arable land,” said Peters adding that bidders could share the same piece of land with farmers.last_img read more

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Huddersfield Town: match preview

first_imgReuse this content Topics Share on LinkedIn Share via Email Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter resources Huddersfield Wolves arrested a poor run by stifling Arsenal last time out and will be confident they can move back into the top half with a victory against Huddersfield. David Wagner’s side had their own slice of good fortune before the break by moving off the foot of the table but with only six goals from 12 matches that may not last much longer. The omens continue to slide toward despair for Wagner as defenders Mathias Jørgensen and Chris Löwe are missing through suspension and injury respectively. Graham SearlesSunday 4pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueVenue MolineuxLast season n/aReferee Kevin FriendThis season G8 Y28 R0 3.50 cards/gameOdds H 1-2 A 7-1 D 3-1WOLVESSubs from Norris, Batth, Saïss, Deslandes, Hause, Ofosu-Ayeh, Gibbs-White, Graham, Ronan, Enobakhare, Bonatini, Dendoncker, Traoré, Ashley-Seal, Watt, JotaDoubtful NoneInjured Jonny (knee, Dec)Suspended NoneDiscipline Y19 R0Form WWLLLDLeading scorer Jiménez 3HUDDERSFIELDSubs from Hamer, Kachunga, Diakhaby, Depoitre, Sobhi, Van La Parra, Sabiri, Quaner, Mbenza, WilliamsDoubtful Lössl (match fitness), Williams (knee)Injured Löwe (shoulder, unknown)Suspended Jørgensen (one match)Discipline Y17 R1Form LDLLWDLeading scorers Biling, Jørgensen, Pritchard, Schindler, Stankovic 1 Share on Facebook Premier League Match previews Wolverhampton Wanderers Share on Messenger Share on Pinterestlast_img read more

JEEP Lauded in the House

first_imgMinister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, has lauded the work being done under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP) in the various constituencies across the island.“One of the interesting things about the JEEP is that even though you are spending far less money than the big ticket items in the Ministry, I believe it has been shown to have more impact than the big projects,” Dr. Davies said.The Minister was closing the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on July 2.During the Sectoral Debate, which commenced in April, Members of Parliament highlighted the impact that the JEEP has had on their constituencies.“It has been demonstrated that Members of Parliament can have a say in actual expenditure taking place within their constituencies,” Dr. Davies pointed out.The JEEP was launched by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, on March 22 last year, in Kingston.It is one of the strategies of the Government to respond to the chronic unemployment status of some Jamaicans, particularly those in the lower socio-economic strata, persons with special needs as well as those with low skills levels.Meanwhile, Dr. Davies has called for a change in the way Sectoral Debates are conducted in the House of Representatives.“I think we need to have a shorter Sectoral Debate where we focus on sectoral issues, policy issues on both sides and then we should structure a period for presentations about constituency matters. But to try and mix them, I think this debate has shown that it hasn’t worked,” he argued.The Sectoral Debate, which followed the Budget Debate, allowed all Members of Parliament to speak on a wide range of policy and constituency issues.Contact: Latonya Lintonlast_img read more