NATIONAL Institute for Medical Research (NIMR)’s just released study findings show that 15.6 per cent of the 533 people whose blood samples were tested have Zika virus.
Presenting the institute’s achievements over the year, NIMR Director General, Dr Mwele Malecela, said in Dar es Salaam the study also discovered that out of 80 toddlers born with physical disabilities, 43.8 per cent were traced with the virus. NIMR conducted the study in partnership with Bugando Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences, she said.
“The study aimed at finding out whether the virus exists in the country and if it bore effects on children born with physical disabilities,” said Dr Malecela, noting that lines of medical research are going on to determine the extent at which the virus has spread in the country.
The DG further revealed that the institute has undertaken another research on alcohol use as a contributing factor to the spread of HIV/AIDS virus among Tanzanians. Preliminary investigations show excessive use of alcohol among the youth is increasingly becoming a serious problem.
Dr Malecela underscored the need for the government to prepare new policies guiding production, sale and consumption of alcohol in the country, pointing out that NIMR has started implementing new strategies in experimenting HIV/AID virus named P5. The experimentation is also being done in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Kenya.
“Seventeen participants out of 28 in the age group of between 15 to 50 years intended participants have been registered to one of the research,” she said.
Dr Malecela added that another study on the indicators on HIV/AIDS virus among the youth in motorcycle business, Bodaboda, was conducted on August 2016 in Dar es Salaam. The study puts the level of infection among Bodaboda drivers at 2.5 per cent, but the situation is alarming for the group had shown risky behaviour.
NIMR boss, however, issued a stern warning against medical researchers carrying out studies without the valid authorisation from the institute.
“Any form of medical research should be NIMR authorised,” Dr Malecela charged, threatening stern legal measures against the law abusers. Three people have already been taken to task for operating without valid licence, she said, adding that NIMR has registered 480 research proposals for this year.