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Below is a round up of news from or about Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 9–24 February 2008.

Mosquito killing compound shows promise
Uganda's National Council of Science and Technology has received an application for field tests on an unidentified plant compound that appears to kill off mosquito larvae when exposed to sunlight. Grace Nambatya, head of Uganda's National Chemotherapeutic Laboratory, said traditional plant remedies would also be tested. More>>

Vitamin A and zinc 'fight off childhood malaria in Burkina Faso'
Researchers in Burkina Faso have shown that vitamin A combined with zinc tablets helps Burkinabé children ward off malaria. Their study, published in Nutrition Journal, was part-funded by the International Atomic Energy Agency's Atoms for Peace programme, and will now expand to trials in Cameroon, Ghana and Mali. More>> [295kB]

HIV treatment future 'lies in vaccine and gene therapy'
Researchers at the 15th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections heard how the future for HIV vaccine research may lie with a combination of vaccine and gene therapy. Elsewhere, delegates heard from Nigerian research, which urged HIV testing for all inpatients in Sub-Saharan Africa. More>> [1.38MB]

New cowpea strangles Striga
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan, Nigeria, is testing improved varieties of the blackeyed pea, or cowpea, in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali and Nigeria. The new varieties of the protein-rich legume can resist several different types of the root-sucking parasitic plant known as fireweed, witchweed or Striga. More>>

Medical researchers in the Gambia focus on ethics
Officials from the Gambian government and the Medical Research Council (UK) The Gambia met at a workshop in Kololi to discuss how to maintain high ethical standards in biomedical research and clinical practice, with particular emphasis on cultural and ethnic sensitivities. Participants heard that 'informed consent' has political, community and familial repercussions. More>>

Nigerian research gets spending boost
More than eight billion Naira (US$160 million) in science and technology research grants have been given to Nigerian universities in a joint programme run by the Federal Ministry of Education and the World Bank. So far, 18 of 49 research projects submitted have been approved, said education minister Igwe Aja-Nwachukwu. More>>

NEPAD targets six per cent annual growth for agriculture
The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) wants Africa's agricultural productivity to show growth of at least six per cent per annum by 2015. Agricultural economist Maria Wanzala says African farmers should follow Rwanda's example, using more chemical and organic fertiliser in order to stimulate food productivity and renew nutrients in the soil. More>>

Agricultural research initiative announces projects
The UK-funded Sustainable Agriculture Research for International Development (see UK gives US$14 million boost to agriculture research) has announced a series of projects in Africa. These include using a virus as a biological pesticide against armyworm caterpillars in Tanzania, intercropping maize with the legume desmodium to halt witchweed in Kenya, and making pearl millet more resistant to drought in Ghana. More>> [622kB]

Nigeria needs routine monitoring for antibiotic resistance
The first detailed study of multidrug-resistant bacteria in Nigeria finds high levels of resistance to several antibiotic and antimicrobial drugs in Escherichia Coli bacteria isolated from patients in Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital. The research is published in the African Journal of Microbiology Research. More>> [73kB]

Compiled by Christina Scott. Additional reporting by Abiose Adelaja, Ochieng' Ogodo, Esther Tola and Taye Babalaye.

If you would like to suggest a story for this news in brief, please contact the Africa News Editor Christina Scott ([email protected]).