Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Malaria is one of the biggest killers, and general health threats in Ghana, where it kills around 40,000 people per year. It is a huge health threat in many other countries around Africa and around the world. Researchers in Uganda may have found new information which could lead to a vaccine.

A LANDMARK study by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Makerere University has indicated that it might soon be possible to develop a malaria vaccine.
. . .
“For some reason, women in their first pregnancy lose the semi-immunity that is normally found in adults,” said Niloofar Rasti, a KI graduate student who has been working on the study. “The placenta seems to be an anatomically favourable environment for a subpopulation of the parasites.”
. . .
Adults who have been infected several times can become partly immune as their defence system gradually starts to recognise the parasite’s proteins. When the placenta is formed, however, a new environment is introduced with a different set of receptors.

This means that a new growth niche is made available to a subpopulation of the parasites. Earlier studies had suggested that each protein from the parasite attaches to only one specific protein, a receptor, in the placenta.

“Most of the parasites we studied could bind to three different receptors in the placenta,” one of the researchers Niloofar Rasti said.

“This would mean that a future vaccine cannot be based on the principle of one protein-one receptor, as was previously believed.”

The Monitor (Kampala)
September 5, 2006
by Peter Nyanzi

What we don’t know about our involvement in Iraq:

  • Why did we attack Iraq in the first place?
  • What is victory in Iraq?
  • What is the course we are staying?
  • How do we know if or when we reach our objective?


The U.S. military has lost control over the volatile al-Anbar province, Iraqi police and residents say.
. . .
Despite massive military operations which destroyed most of Fallujah and much of cities like Haditha and al-Qa’im in Ramadi, real control of the city now seems to be in the hands of local resistance.

In losing control of this province, the U.S. would have lost control over much of Iraq.

“We are talking about nearly a third of the area of Iraq,” Ahmed Salman, a historian from Fallujah told IPS. “Al-Anbar borders Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia, and the resistance there will never stop as long as there are American soldiers on the ground.”

Salman said the U.S. military is working against itself. “Their actions ruin their goal because they use these huge, violent military operations which kill so many civilians, and make it impossible to calm down the people of al-Anbar.”
. . .
The U.S. forces seem to have no clear policy in the face of the sustained resistance.
. . .
He added: “A contributing factor to the instability of the province is the endless misery of the civilians who live with no services, no infrastructure, random shootings and so many wrongful detentions.”