Nigerian Prof. Nok spoke in front of large of African Diaspora recently at the Eagan Civic Center about his discovery of the sleeping sickness gene as well as health issues in general.
Professor Andrew Jonathan Nok (MFR), the professor of Biochemistry at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, is also the Dean of the Faculty of Science at the Ahmadu Bello University.
Professor Andrew Nok sat down with the African News Journal at Eagan Convention Center before the event and told the paper that he was very proud of how his fellow Africans in the diaspora progressed over the years in terms of education and financially based on his observation outside the continent. Responding when asked about his achienvement of this scientific milestone he discovered, Nok said ” I am happy that we will finally help to millions of people and animals from this disease. It took many years but we finally did it and happy the final result.”
He said that the African Researchers need help and lack of funding prevent from many talented researchers complete their projects, some of those projects can be a lifeline aid to masses.
He said that even though he is from Nigeria, a weatlh nation by any standard, some of the funding of his project came from overseas including US and Japanese Institutiions.
“I would like to see my fellow Africans in the daispora pressure their leaders in Africa in this subject and the Media create awarness of this vital chapter, without immediate aid, many our valuable researchers will either drop their research or immigrate to overseas….. a classic brain drain delimma” Prof. Nok said
“Let me add one more, some of those leaders will say we donn’t have money, that is not true, Africa is rich, very rich, they just need to be accountable to their respective citizens not to overseas accounts.” he added
Prof. Nok, who is a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, emerged the winner of the Nigerian Liquefied and Natural Gas (NLNG) Nigeria Prize for Science.
Nok clinged this prestigious science award in 2009 for his seminal work in discovering the gene responsible for the creation of Sialidase (SD), an enzyme which causes sleeping sickness (Trypano-somiasis) titled “Functional Studies on the Trypanosome Sialidase/Trans-sialidase – Prospects for DNA vaccine.”
“Trypanosomiasis” popularly known as sleeping sickness in human beings and animals is a disease that is resurgent in Africa.
His research breakthrough is significant in forming the baseline for developing DNA based vaccines against Trypanos-oma.
The value of this breakthrough emana-tes from the 60 million people estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2006, living mainly in rural parts of East, West and Central Africa at the risk of contracting sleeping sickness.
Prof. Nok is currently a visiting Professor at Yale Univ. working on the development of the Vacines against Trypanosoma.