New tuberculosis remedy, invention to tackle diabetes – Enugu Tech Expo 2019 at a glance

Nigeria’s Ministry of Science and Technology has set out to build the capacity of local inventors, innovators and scientists to compete favourably with the global technology scene.

And so therefore the ministry’s 2019 Science, Technology and Innovation Expo held in Enugu set out to identify the very best Nigeria has to offer within the tech arena.

This year’s event had “Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth” as its theme; the aim of the gathering was to largely commercialise research results from Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.

Any successes recorded?

So far, so good.

Of key significance was the scientific milestones recorded in treating health challenges like Tuberculosis (TB) and Diabetes mellitus

Tuberculosis breakthrough

Prof. Festus Onwuliri, Nigerian researcher at African Centre of Excellence in Phytomedicine Research and Development (ACEPRD), University of Jos, Plateau, developed a local remedy for tuberculosis.

Onwuliri said that the micro-bacterium tuberculosis medicine which was on display at the pavilion of the institution, was more effective than foreign ones.

He said that the new indigenous product was the best for the isolation and characterisation of pathogenic materials, especially bacteria, as the product was produced from a local grain called ‘Acha’.

“Our invention — Acha Agar and Acha Urine Agar — could isolate so many microorganisms that cause bacteria.

“The two varieties of Acha -Digitaria Exilis and Digitaria Iburua which are of the grain specie, were the major components of the research and they were used for the isolation of bacteria.

“Both of them have been proven to be effective and can authoritatively replace the imported medium for growing bacteria and diagnosing tuberculosis.

“Macunki, nutrient algae and blood algae are the popular bacteria medium usually imported into Nigeria,” he said.

Onwuliri said that he was motivated to embark on the research due to the high cost of treating tuberculosis in Nigeria.

Tackling Diabetes

Prof. Chukwunonso Ejike, a researcher at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi, unveiled his institution’s invention to tackling diabetes – VOG Tea.

Prof. Ejike said the tea was produced from three culinary vegetables, noting that the process of patenting the product had already begun and would soon be in the market.

“Our interest in developing this tea was to find out how to help our people manage diabetes mellitus,” he said.

“We thought of local remedies that could be cheap and identified these vegetables. We did clinical tests and collected data on the vegetables and confirmed that making tea from the vegetables could be of great benefit to sufferers of diabetes mellitus.

“Constant consumption of the tea will ensure that the glucose concentration will not overshoot the normal level.”

The dean said that the product would also help people at risk of getting diabetes.

He said that the usage of the VOG Tea by those at risk would ensure that they never developed it.

Surely, if there is enough investment in research, Nigeria’s science and tech scene would kick start the true diversification of our economy!