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    An In vitro and in silico investigation of the antitrypanosomal activities of the stem bark extracts of Anopyxis klaineana (Pierre) Engl
    (Heliyon, 2024) Adams, L.; Obiri-Yeboah, D.; Afiadenyo, M.; et al.
    African Trypanosomiasis caused by trypanosome parasites continues to be a major neglected health problem, particularly in developing countries. Current treatments are marked by serious side effects, low effectiveness, high toxicity, and drug resistance prompting the need to develop novel, safe, effective, and alternative antitrypanosomal compounds. Anopyxis klaineana is an ethnomedicinal plant used in West Africa to treat many ailments including protozoan diseases. In this study, we investigated the antitrypanosomal potential of stem bark extracts of A. klaineana through in vitro and in silico approaches. A. klaineana extracts were tested for their anti trypanosomal activities against Trypanosoma brucei parasite in vitro using Alamar blue assay. In addition, the antioxidant and cytotoxic activities were determined. LC-ESI-QTOF-MS was used to identify potential bioactive compounds present in the A. klaineana extracts. Bioactive compounds identified were subjected to molecular docking studies against Trypanosoma brucei’s trypanothione reductase (TR) and Uridine Diphosphate Galactose 4′-Epimerase (UDP). The A. klaineana extracts (methanol, hexane, chloroform, and ethyl acetate) exhibited potential anti-trypanosomal activ ities with IC50 values of 21.25 ± 0.755,4.35 ± 0.166,2.57 ± 0.153 and 22.92 ± 2.321 μg/mL respectively. Moreover, the methanolic crude extracts showed moderate cytotoxicity against HepG2 and PNT2 cells, with IC50 values of 68.0 ± 2.05 and 78.7 ± 2.63 μg/mL respectively. LC MS analysis revealed the presence of 24 bioactive compounds with 5 being druglike. Risperidone, Ranolazine, Dihydro-7-Desacetyldeoxygedunin, 6 beta-Hydroxytriamcinolone acetonide, and Dimethylmatairesinol were identified as novel potential inhibitors of TR and UDP with binding affinities of − 10.4, − 7.9, − 8.7, − 8.4 and − 7.1 kcal/mol respectively against TR and − 10.8, − 8.4, − 8.4, − 7.6 and − 8.1 respectively against UDP. This study indicates that A. klaineana has po tential antitrypanosomal properties and therefore may have the potential to be developed as a therapeutic intervention for treating African trypanosomiasis.
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    Climate‑influenced vector‑borne diseases in Africa: a call to empower the next generation of African researchers for sustainable solutions
    (Infectious Diseases of Poverty, 2024) Obame‑Nkoghe, J.; Agossou, A.E.; Ndam, N.T.
    We look at the link between climate change and vector-borne diseases in low- and middle-income countries in Africa. The large endemicity and escalating threat of diseases such as malaria and arboviral diseases, intensified by climate change, disproportionately affects vulnerable communities globally. We highlight the urgency of prioritizing research and development, advocating for robust scientific inquiry to promote adaptation strategies, and the vital role that the next generation of African research leaders will play in addressing these challenges. Despite significant challenges such as funding shortages within countries, various pan-African-oriented funding bodies such as the African Academy of Sciences, the Africa Research Excellence Fund, the Wellcome Trust, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as initiatives such as the African Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence and the Pan-African Mosquito Control Association, have empowered (or are empowering) these researchers by supporting capacity building activities, including continental and global networking, skill development, mentoring, and African-led research. This article underscores the urgency of increased national investment in research, proposing the establishment of research government agencies to drive evidence-based interventions. Collaboration between governments and scientific communities, sustained by pan-African funding bodies, is crucial. Through these efforts, African nations are likely to enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of their systems and communities by navigating these challenges effectively, fostering scientific excellence and implementing transformative solutions against climate-sensitive vector-borne diseases.
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    Climate‑influenced vector‑borne diseases in Africa: a call to empower the next generation of African researchers for sustainable solutions
    (Infectious Diseases of Poverty, 2024) Obame-Nkoghe, J.; Agossou, A.E.; Ndam, N.T.; et.al
    We look at the link between climate change and vector-borne diseases in low- and middle-income countries in Africa. The large endemicity and escalating threat of diseases such as malaria and arboviral diseases, intensified by climate change, disproportionately affects vulnerable communities globally. We highlight the urgency of prioritizing research and development, advocating for robust scientific inquiry to promote adaptation strategies, and the vital role that the next generation of African research leaders will play in addressing these challenges. Despite significant challenges such as funding shortages within countries, various pan-African-oriented funding bodies such as the African Academy of Sciences, the Africa Research Excellence Fund, the Wellcome Trust, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as initiatives such as the African Research Initiative for Scientific Excellence and the Pan-African Mosquito Control Association, have empowered (or are empowering) these researchers by supporting capacity building activities, including continental and global networking, skill development, mentoring, and African-led research. This article underscores the urgency of increased national investment in research, proposing the establishment of research government agencies to drive evidence-based interventions. Collaboration between governments and scientific communities, sustained by pan-African funding bodies, is crucial. Through these efforts, African nations are likely to enhance the resilience and adaptive capacity of their systems and communities by navigating these challenges effectively, fostering scientific excellence and implementing transformative solutions against climate-sensitive vector-borne diseases.
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    Spatial and Seasonal Patterns of Tick Infestations in Kassena-Nankana Livestock
    (Veterinary Medicine International, 2024) Addo, S.O.; Bentil, R.E.; Ansah-Owusu, J.; Dunford, J.C.; et al.
    The ability of ticks to adapt to different ecological zones, coupled with the spread of infectious pathogens, negatively affects livestock production and thus, there is a need for better control strategies. However, control measures within a geographical region can only be effective if there is available information on tick population dynamics and ecology. This study focused on ticks infesting livestock in the Kassena-Nankana Districts of the Upper East Region of Ghana. The ticks were morphologically identified, and variables such as season, animal host, and predilection sites were recorded, and the data were analyzed using STATA version 13. Out of 448 livestock examined, tick infestation in cattle was 78.60%, followed by sheep (25%) and goats (5.88%). A total of 1,550 ticks, including nymphs (303) and adults (1,247) were collected. Adult ticks were found to be significantly associated with season (p < 0.001), with a high burden in the wet season. The nymph burden and body parts of livestock hosts were significantly associated with more nymphs collected from male animals than females (p < 0.001). Tree genera of ticks: Amblyomma (62.97%), Hyalomma (18.71%), and Rhipicephalus (18.32%) were morphologically identified with the most predominant tick species recorded as Amblyomma variegatum (62.97%). Mature A. variegatum was sampled primarily in the wet season, with their predilection site as the udder/scrotum (p < 0.001). However, adult Hyalomma truncatum was observed to have a significant association with the anal region (p < 0.001). Findings from this study are essential for formulating tick control measures to prevent the spread of infectious pathogens.
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    Two promising candidates for paratransgenesis, Elizabethkingia and Asaia, increase in both sexes of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes after feeding
    (Malaria Journal, 2024) Egyirifa, R.K.; Akorli, J.
    Background The male mosquito microbiome may be important for identifying ideal candidates for disease control. Among other criteria, mosquito-associated symbionts that have high localization in both male and female mosquitoes and are transmissible through both vertical and sexual routes are desirable. However, mosquito microbiome Studies have mainly been female-focused. In this study, the microbiota of male and female Anopheles gambiae sensu lato (s.l.) were compared to identify shared or unique bacteria. Methods Late larval instars of Anopheles mosquitoes were collected from the field and raised to adults. Equal numbers of males and females of 1-day-old non-sugar-fed, 4-5-day-old sugar-fed and post-blood-fed females randomly selected for whole-body analyses of bacteria 16S rRNA. Results Results revealed that male and female mosquitoes generally share similar microbiota, except when females were blood-fed. Compared to newly emerged unfed mosquitoes, feeding on sugar and/or blood increased variability in microbial composition (⍺-diversity), with a higher disparity among females (39% P = 0.01) than in males (29% P=0.03). Elizabethkingia meningoseptica and Asaia siamensis were common discriminants between feeding statuses in both males and females. While E. meningoseptica was particularly associated with sugar-fed mosquitoes, of both sexes and sustained after blood feeding in females, A. siamensis was also increased in sugar-fed mosquitoes but decreased significantly in blood-fed females (LDA score > 4.0, P<0.05). Among males, A. siamensis did not differ significantly after sugar meals. Conclusions Results indicate the opportunities for stable infection in mosquitoes should these species be used in bacteria-mediated disease control. Further studies are recommended to investigate possible host-specifc tissue tropism of bacteria species, which will inform the selection of the most appropriate microbes for effective transmission-blocking strategies.
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    First Whole Genome Sequencing of Crimean–Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus (CCHFV) in Tick Species within Ghana
    (Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 2023) Bentil, R.E.; Addo, S.O.; Dadzie, S.K.; et al.
    Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a serious viral zoonotic disease spread by ticks and caused by the Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV). The emergence and reemergence of CCHF in various nations in the Eastern Mediterranean Region over the last decade have shown a growing risk of the disease spreading to new areas, especially in population-dense and livestock trade-dominant areas. There is a lack of updated information on the risk of CCHFV in the Greater Accra and Upper East Regions of Ghana. Due to the paucity of available data, this study sought to identify the tick species diversity in Ghana and to ascertain the CCHFV strains they may carry. A total of 705 ticks were collected from 188 cattle and 11 horses and morphologically identified. Three tick genera (Hyalomma, Amblyomma, and Rhipicephalus) were observed, with the predominant species being Hyalomma rufipes (n = 290, 41.1%). The CCHFV infection rates of 0.78%, 0.69%, and 0.64% were recorded in Hyalomma truncatum, H. rufipes, and Amblyomma variegatum, respectively. No infection was detected in the Rhipicephalus species. Furthermore, a strain was successfully recovered using next-generation sequencing. The strain belongs to genotype 3 and shared 98.9% nucleotide identity with DQ211641_Mauritania_1984 and MF287636_Spain_2016. Findings from this study suggest the possible importation of the virus into the country through trade, and potentially, a public health threat to humans who may have primary contact with livestock
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    Entomological risk assessment for transmission of arboviral diseases by Aedes mosquitoes in a domestic and forest site in Accra, Ghana
    (PLOS ONE, 2023) Akyea-Bob, N.E.; Akorli, J.; Opoku, M.; et al.
    Dengue, Zika and chikungunya are Aedes-borne viral diseases that have become great global health concerns in the past years. Several countries in Africa have reported out breaks of these diseases and despite Ghana sharing borders with some of these coun tries, such outbreaks are yet to be detected. Viral RNA and antibodies against dengue serotype-2 have recently been reported among individuals in some localities in the regional capital of Ghana. This is an indication of a possible silent transmission ongoing in the population. This study, therefore, investigated the entomological transmission risk of dengue, Zika and chikungunya viruses in a forest and domestic population in the Greater Accra Region, Ghana. All stages of the Aedes mosquito (egg, larvae, pupae and adults) were collected around homes and in the forest area for estimation of risk indices. All eggs were hatched and reared to larvae or adults for morphological identification together with larvae and adults collected from the field. The forest population had higher species richness with 7 Aedes species. The predominant species of Aedes mosquitoes identified from both sites was Aedes aegypti (98%). Aedes albopictus, an important arbo virus vector, was identified only in the peri-domestic population at a prevalence of 1.5%, significantly higher than previously reported. All risk indices were above the WHO thresh old except the House Index for the domestic site which was moderate (19.8). The forest population recorded higher Positive Ovitrap (34.2% vs 26.6%) and Container (67.9% vs 36.8%) Indices than the peri-domestic population. Although none of the mosquito pools showed the presence of dengue, chikungunya or Zika viruses, all entomological risk indi cators showed that both sites had a high potential arboviral disease transmission risk should any of these viruses be introduced. Continuous surveillance is recommended in these and other sites in the Metropolis to properly map transmission risk areas to inform outbreak preparedness strategies.
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    Antimicrobial use of patients with sexually transmitted infection symptoms prior to presentation at five health facilities in Southern Ghana
    (Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, 2023) Attram, N.; Dela, H.; Behene, E.; et al.
    Background Unregulated and inappropriate antimicrobial use are major contributors to the evolution of antimicrobial resistance worldwide. It is important to monitor and collect data on the use of antibiotics at health facilities and in the general population in order to support antimicrobial stewardship programs. Methods As part of a gonorrhea surveillance study that was conducted from June 2012 to Jan 2018, we administered a questionnaire to elicit information on the types of antimicrobials used by individuals to treat symptoms of a gonorrhea infection prior to presenting at five health facilities in Southern Ghana. Results Almost one-third (383/1,349; 28%) of study participants admitted taking one or more antimicrobial types before hospital presentation, while 138/383 (36%) of those who took antimicrobials could not remember what they ingested. A greater percentage of individuals who reported prior antimicrobial use before presentation at a health facility tested positive for gonorrhea by NAAT (30%), in contrast to 24% for those without prior treatment (p=0.004). Penicillin and its derivatives, as well as ciprofloxacin and doxycycline, were the most used, while a few individuals reported taking drugs such as kanamycin and rifampin. Males were more likely than females to take an antimicrobial prior to attending a health center. Conclusion In order to curb excessive and inappropriate antimicrobial use, antibiotics used by patients before presenting at hospitals ought to be investigated by healthcare providers. It is recommended that health professionals receive continuing education on the consequences of unregulated antimicrobial use.
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    Design of Inhibitors That Target the Menin–Mixed-Lineage Leukemia Interaction
    (Computation, 2023) Arthur, M.N.; Bebla, K.; Kwofie, S.K.; et al.
    The prognosis of mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) has remained a significant health concern. especially for infants. The minimal treatments available for this aggressive type of leukemia has been an ongoing problem. Chromosomal translocations of the KMT2A gene are known as MLL. which expresses MLL fusion proteins. A protein called menin is an important oncogenic cofactor for these MLL fusion proteins, thus providing a new avenue for treatments against this subset of acute leukemias. In this study, we report results using structure-based drug design (SBDD) approach to discovering potential novel MLL-mediated leukemia inhibitors from natural products against menin. The three-dimensional (3D) protein model was derived from Protein Databank (Protein ID: 4GQ4), and EasyModeller 4.0 and I-TASSER were used to fix missing residues during rebuilding. Out of the ten protein models generated (five from EasyModeller and I-TASSER each), One model was selected. The selected model demonstrated the most reasonable quality and had 75.5% of residues in the most favored regions, 18.3% of residues in additionally allowed regions, and 3.3% of residues in generously allowed regions, and 2.9% of residues in disallowed regions. A ligand library containing 25,131 ligands from a Chinese database was virtually screened using AutoDock Vina, in addition to three known menin inhibitors. The top 10 compounds, including ZINC000103526876, ZINC000095913861, ZINC000095912705, ZINC000085530497, ZINC000095912718, ZINC000070451048, ZINC000085530488, ZINC000095912706, ZINC000103580868, and ZINC000103584057 had binding energies of −11.0, −10.7, −10.6, −10.2, −10.2, −9.9, −9.9, −9.9, −9.9, and −9.9 kcal/mol, respectively. To confirm the stability of the menin-ligand complexes and the binding mechanisms, molecular dynamics simulations, including molecular mechanics and Poisson-Boltzmann surface area (MM/PBSA) computations were performed. The amino acid residues that were found to be potentially crucial in ligand binding included Phe243, Met283, Cys246, Tyr281, Ala247, Ser160, Asn287, Asp185, Ser183, Tyr328, Asn249, His186, Leu182, Ile248, and Pro250. MI-2-2 and PubChem CIDs 71777742 and 36294 were shown to possess anti-menin properties; thus, this justifies a need to experimentally determine the activity of the identified compounds. The compounds identified herein were found to have good pharmacological profiles and negligible toxicity. Additionally, these compounds were predicted as antileukemic, antineoplastic, chemopreventive, and apoptotic agents. The 10 natural compounds can be further explored as potential novel agents for the effective treatment of MLL-mediated leukemia.
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    Predicting The Environmental Suitability For Anopheles Stephensi Under The Current Conditions In Ghana
    (Scientifc Reports, 2024) Ismail, R.B.; Osei, J.H.N.; Bozorg‑Omid, F.; et al.
    The emergence of vector-borne diseases, particularly malaria, presents a significant public health challenge worldwide. Anophelines are predominant malaria vectors, with varied distribution and influence. by environment and climate. This study, in Ghana, modelled environmental suitability for Anopheles stephensi, a potential vector that may threaten advances in malaria and vector control. Understanding this vector’s distribution and dynamics ensure effective malaria and vector control programmes implementation. We explored the MaxEnt ecological modelling method to forecast An. stephensi’s potential hotspots and niches. We analysed environmental and climatic variables to predict spatial distribution and ecological niches of An. stephensi with a spatial resolution of approximately 5 km2 . Analyzing geospatial and species occurrence data, we identified optimal environmental conditions and important factors in its presence. The model’s most important variables guided hotspot prediction across several ecological zones aside from urban and peri-urban regions. Considering the vector’s complex bionomics, these areas provide varying and adaptable conditions for the vector to colonise and establish. This is shown by the AUC= 0.943 prediction accuracy of the model, which is considered excellent. Based on our predictions, this vector species would thrive in Greater Accra, Ashanti Central, Upper East, Northern, and North East regions. Forecasting its environmental suitability Ecological niche modelling supports proactive surveillance and focused malaria management strategies. Public health officials can act to reduce the risk of malaria transmission by identifying areas where mosquitoes may breed, which will ultimately improve health outcomes and disease control.
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    Biting Behaviour, Spatio-Temporal Dynamics, And The Insecticide Resistance Status Of Malaria Vectors In Diferent Ecological Zones In Ghana
    (Parasites & Vectors, 2024) Akuoko, O.K.; Dhikrullahi, S.B.; Hinne, I.A.; et al.
    Background A significant decrease in malaria morbidity and mortality has been attained using long-lasting insecticides. ticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying. Selective pressure from these control methods influences changes in vector bionomics and behavioural patterns. There is a need to understand how insecticide resistance drives behavior. ioural changes within vector species. This study aimed to determine the spatio-temporal dynamics and biting behavior. prevalence of malaria vectors in different ecological zones in Ghana in an era of high insecticide use for public health vector control. Methods Adult mosquitoes were collected during the dry and rainy seasons in 2017 and 2018 from five study sites in Ghana in different ecological zones. Indoor- and outdoor-biting mosquitoes were collected per hour from 18:00 to 06:00 h employing the human landing catch (HLC) technique. Morphological and molecular species identification Identification of vectors was done using identification keys and PCR, respectively. Genotyping of insecticide-resistant markers was done using TaqMan SNP genotyping probe-based assays. Detection of Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites was determined using PCR. Results A total of 50,322 mosquitoes belonging to four different genera were collected from all the study sites during the sampling seasons in 2017 and 2018. Among the Anophelines were Anopheles gambiae s.l., 93.2%, (31,055/33,334), An. funestus 2.1%, (690/33,334), An. pharoensis 4.6%, (1545/33,334), and An. rufpes 0.1% (44/33,334). Overall, 76.4% (25,468/33,334) of Anopheles mosquitoes were collected in the rainy season and 23.6% (7866/33,334) in the dry season. There was a significant difference (Z = 2.410; P = 0.0160) between indoor-biting (51.1%) 15,866/31,055) and outdoor-biting An. gambiae s.l. (48.9%; 15,189/31,055). The frequency of the Vgsc-1014F mutation was slightly higher in indoor-biting mosquitoes (54.9%) than outdoors (45.1%). Overall, 44 pools of samples were positive. tive for P. falciparum CSP, giving an overall sporozoite rate of 0.1%. Conclusion Anopheles gambiae s.l. was more abundant indoors across all ecological zones of Ghana. The frequency of G119S was higher indoors than outdoors from all the study sites, but with higher sporozoite rates in outdoor mos‑ quitoes in Dodowa and Kpalsogu. There is, therefore, an urgent need for a supplementary malaria control intervention to control outdoor-biting mosquitoes.
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    Progress towards elimination of onchocerciasis transmission in Mali: A “pre stop MDA” survey in 18 transmission zone
    (PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2023) Dolo, H.; Coulibaly, M.E.; Boakye, D.; et al.
    Background Onchocerciasis control activities in Mali began in 1975 with vector larviciding carried out by the Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP), followed by the distribution of ivermectin from 1998 until the closure of the OCP in 2002. At that time, epidemiological evaluations, using skin snip microscopy and O-150 pool screening PCR in black flies, indicated that the disease had been largely controlled as a public health problem. Ivermectin distribution was nevertheless continued after 2002 in 34 of the 75 health districts in Mali as these were known to still be meso- or hyper-endemic for onchocerciasis. In addition, the onchocerciasis sites known to be hypo-endemic for onchocerciasis benefited from the distribution of iver mectin treatment as part of the mass drug administration (MDA) program for lymphatic filari asis. Various entomological and epidemiological evaluations have now indicated that Mali may have achieved successful interruption of onchocerciasis transmission. Methods A series of cross-sectional surveys to update vector breeding sites throughout the endemic areas, followed by a pre-stop ivermectin mass drug administration (Pre-stop MDA) survey, were undertaken in 2019–2020. Based on breeding site findings, historical epidemiological assessments, and vector collection site maps, 18 operational transmission zones (OTZ) were delineated within which a total of 104 first line villages were selected for evaluation. Dried blood spots (DBS) samples were collected from 10,400 children (5–9 years old) from these 104 first line villages and processed for the presence of OV16 antibody using a lab based rapid diagnostic test. Results Within the 544 Simulium damnosum s.l. breeding sites visited in all five endemic onchocerci asis endemic regions of Mali 18.01% (98/544) were seen to be active with the presence of at least one stage of S. damnosum. The overall prevalence of OV16 positive children was 0.45% (47/10,400). However, two hotspots were identified: 2.60% (13/500) seroprevalence in the OTZ number 5 in Kayes Region and 1.40% (7/500) in the OTZ number 1 of Sikasso Region. Conclusion These data show that onchocerciasis prevalence in the five endemic regions has declined to levels that indicate that Stop-MDA surveys should be now carried out in most of the OTZ except for one in the Kayes Region. This latter site will need additional ivermectin treatment before reevaluation, and an OTZ in the Sikasso Region requires revaluation before possibly reinitiating MDA
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    Computational Screening of Neuropilin-1 Unveils Novel Potential Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Therapeutics
    (Chemistry & Biodiversity, 2023) Afiadenyo, M.; Adams, L.; Agoni, C.; et al.
    Neuropilin 1 (NRP-1) inhibition has shown promise in reducing the infectivity of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and preventing the virus entry into nerve tissues, thereby mitigating neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients. In this study, we employed virtual screening, including molecular docking, Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulation, and Molecular Mechanics-Poisson Boltzmann Surface Area (MMPBSA) calculations to identify potential NRP-1 inhibitors. From a compendium of 1930 drug-like natural compounds, we identified five potential leads: CNP0435132, CNP0435311, CNP0424372, CNP0429647, and CNP0427474, displaying robust binding energies of
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    A review of some medicinal plants with the potential to defeat antimicrobial resistance: Cases of Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Cape Verde
    (International Journal of One Health, 2022) Dougnon, V.; Legba, B.B.; Ayi, I.; et al.
    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global public health problem. In the alternatives being explored for developing new Antimicrobials and medicinal plants occupy an important place, particularly in Africa, where they are widely used. This review aims to analyze the potential of medicinal plants from Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina-Faso, and Cape Verde in the fight against AMR. A bibliographic search was conducted to explore scientific databases such as PubMed and Google Scholar. During this search, particular attention was given to epidemiological data related to AMR in these countries and medicinal plants traditionally used to treat microbial infections and medicinal plants that have been shown to be active on multidrug-resistant microbial strains. In total, 94 manuscripts were investigated. Epidemiological data showed that the problem of AMR is worsening in each target country. In addition, several medicinal plants have been demonstrated to be effective against microbial strains that are resistant to conventional antibiotics. A total of 532 medicinal plants were identified according to their ethnomedical uses for the treatment of microbial infections. Scientific evidence was collected on the antimicrobial potential of 91 plants. This study showed the potential of medicinal plants in the fight against AMR. Their documented traditional use, coupled with the evidence of efficacy provided, make them interesting sources for developing new antimicrobials.
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    In Vitro Cercaricidal Activity, Acute Toxicity, and GC/MS Analysis of Some Selected Ghanaian Medicinal Plants
    (Journal of Parasitology Research, 2023) Osei-Mensah, B.; Anyan, W.K.; Bentil, I.; et al.
    Schistosomiasis is a human parasitic disease caused by the Schistosoma species and is recognised in public health as second to malaria in terms of its socioeconomic impact on humans. Four local plants native to many tribes in Ghana and known for their medicinal properties against some diseases were assessed for their cercaricidal activity against Schistosoma mansoni cercariae. The plants, namely, Newbouldia laevis stem bark (NLSB), Spathodea campanulata stem bark (SCSB), Momordica charantia leaves (MCL), and Ocimum viride leaves (OVL), were extracted for their active metabolites using methanol. Preliminary phytochemical screening was carried out on all plant extracts and powdered samples. The crude extracts were tested against S. mansoni cercariae in vitro using Balanites aegyptiaca as the positive control. The percentage of mortalities for each extract was recorded. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis was conducted on all the plant extracts. Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of saponins, glycosides, triterpenoids, sterols, alkaloids, flavonoids, and tannins in almost all the extracts. GC/MS analysis showed the presence of medicinally important active volatile compounds in each extract such as thymol, n-hexadecanoic acid, phytol, and maltol. All four plants showed relatively different levels of activity against S. mansoni cercariae at different times and concentrations. The LC50 values of the plant extracts were determined at the end of the assay. At 240 min, NLSB, SCSB, MCL, and OVL extracts had LC50 values of 487.564, 429.898, 197.696, and 0.129 μg/mL, respectively. Hence, this study revealed the potency of Ocimum viride leaves, Momordica charantia leaves, Spathodea campanulata stem bark, and Newbouldia laevis stem bark against S. mansoni. These plants could therefore be exploited as possible candidates for curbing schistosomiasis.
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    Assessing the performance of regular surgical nose masks as a sampling method for SARS CoV-2 detection in a cross-sectional stu
    (PLOS ONE, 2023) Opoku, M.; Obeng-Aboagye, E.; Boamah, G.Y.K.
    Nose masks are widely worn for protection against respiratory pathogens, including SARS CoV-2. They have been reported as possible substrates for viral sampling and testing for COVID-19 but, evaluations have so far been purposive; involving individuals known to have the infection and using improved materials on the nose masks to trap the virus. We investi gated the feasibility of using the regular 3-ply surgical masks and, voluntary coughing as a mode of particle expulsion for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infections in a cross-sectional study at Ghana’s first COVID-19 testing reference laboratory, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Med ical Research, University of Ghana. Paired samples of naso-oropharyngeal swabs and nose masks already worn by 103 consenting adult participants (retro masks) were collected. Par ticipants were also required to produce three strong coughs into a newly supplied sterile sur gical nose mask. Pre-wetted swabs in Viral Transport Media (VTM) were used in swabbing the inner lining of each nose mask. The swabs used were then stored in VTM to maintain the integrity of the samples. PCR results of SARS-CoV-2 detection from the nose masks were compared to those from naso-oropharyngeal swabs (‘gold-standard’). Out of the 103 partici pants tested with all three methods, 66 individuals sampled with naso-oropharyngeal swabs were detected as positive, and the retro and new masks matched 9 and 4, respectively. Only 3 individuals were positive across all three sampling methods accessed. The retro nose masks performed better in matching the gold-standard results than the new mask + coughing method, with 90% vs 80% sensitivity, positive predictive value of 13.6% vs 6%, and a weak but significant linear relationship (adj. R2 = 0.1; P = 0.0004). Importantly, we also show that the nose masks would work for sampling whether individuals are symptomatic or asymptom atic since gold-standard PCR cycling threshold (Ct) values for positive individuals did not dif fer between the two groups (P< 0.05). We recommend including features such as talking during participant engagement, use of a spontaneous cough inducer and increased coughing bouts > 3, to improve the performance of sterile nose masks for SARS-CoV-2 detection.
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    Malaria, Urogenital Schistosomiasis, and Anaemia in Pregnant Ghanaian Women
    (Hindawi Journal of Parasitology Research, 2023) Frempong, N.A.; Ahiabor, C.; Anyan, W.K.; et al.
    Anaemia is common in sub-Saharan Africa, and parasitic infections could worsen its burden during pregnancy. Moreover, women become susceptible to malaria during pregnancy. We investigated Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) and Schistosoma haematobium (S. haematobium) infections and determined their association with anaemia during pregnancy. Methods. A cross-sectional study involving 707 pregnant women attending antenatal care visits (ANC) and 446 at delivery was conducted in Battor and Adidome hospitals. Pregnant women were screened by microscopy and qPCR for P. falciparum and S. haematobium infections. Haemoglobin (Hb) levels were determined, and most participants received intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy (IPTp) during ANC till delivery. Regression analyses were performed for associations between parasite infection and anaemia. Results. P. falciparum microscopy prevalence at ANC and delivery was 8% and 2%, respectively, and by PCR 24% at ANC and 12% at delivery. Anaemia prevalence at ANC was 52% and 49% at delivery. There was an increased risk of anaemia with P. falciparum infection (aOR = 1 92; p = 0 04). IPTp (p = 0 003) and age (p = 0 004) were associated with increased Hb levels at delivery. S. haematobium prevalence by microscopy was 4% at ANC and 2% at delivery. No significant correlation between S. haematobium and Hb levels was observed (coef = − 0 62 g/dl; p = 0 07). Conclusion. High anaemia prevalence was observed during pregnancy, and P. falciparum infection was associated with anaemia at ANC. Low S. haematobium prevalence could be attributed to previous praziquantel treatment during mass drug administration. Routine diagnosis and treatment of S. haematobium infections in endemic areas could be initiated to reduce schistosomiasis during pregnancy.
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    Assessing the performance of regular surgical nosemasks as a sampling method for SARS-CoV-2 detection in a cross-sectional study
    (PLOS ONE, 2023) Opoku, M.; Obeng-Aboagye, E.; Adu-Asamoah, D.; et al.
    Nose masks are widely worn for protection against respiratory pathogens, including SARS CoV-2. They have been reported as possible substrates for viral sampling and testing for COVID-19 but, evaluations have so far been purposive; involving individuals known to have the infection and using improved materials on the nose masks to trap the virus. We investi gated the feasibility of using the regular 3-ply surgical masks and, voluntary coughing as a mode of particle expulsion for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infections in a cross-sectional study at Ghana’s first COVID-19 testing reference laboratory, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Med ical Research, University of Ghana. Paired samples of naso-oropharyngeal swabs and nose masks already worn by 103 consenting adult participants (retro masks) were collected. Par ticipants were also required to produce three strong coughs into a newly supplied sterile sur gical nose mask. Pre-wetted swabs in Viral Transport Media (VTM) were used in swabbing the inner lining of each nose mask. The swabs used were then stored in VTM to maintain the integrity of the samples. PCR results of SARS-CoV-2 detection from the nose masks were compared to those from naso-oropharyngeal swabs (‘gold-standard’). Out of the 103 partici pants tested with all three methods, 66 individuals sampled with naso-oropharyngeal swabs were detected as positive, and the retro and new masks matched 9 and 4, respectively. Only 3 individuals were positive across all three sampling methods accessed. The retro nose masks performed better in matching the gold-standard results than the new mask + coughing method, with 90% vs 80% sensitivity, positive predictive value of 13.6% vs 6%, and a weak but significant linear relationship (adj. R2 = 0.1; P = 0.0004). Importantly, we also show that the nose masks would work for sampling whether individuals are symptomatic or asymptom atic since gold-standard PCR cycling threshold (Ct) values for positive individuals did not dif fer between the two groups (P< 0.05). We recommend including features such as talking during participant engagement, use of a spontaneous cough inducer and increased coughing bouts > 3, to improve the performance of sterile nose masks for SARS-CoV-2 detection.
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    The Prevalence and Causes of Musculoskeletal Pain among Farmers in the Volta Region of Ghana: A Cross Sectional Study
    (Texila International Journal of Public Health, 2023) Cudjoe, A.; Wilson, M.D.; Ahedor, R.D.; et al.
    Musculoskeletal pain (MSK) disorder is considered one of the prime causes of severe long-term pain and physical disabilities acquired globally. Ghanaians especially, farmers have to go through vigorous physical farm activities to achieve desired output of farm activities. In the Volta Region, MSK pain has ranked among the top three reported cases at the Ho Teaching Hospital. Whilst, the quantum of reported cases is known, and treated at the hospital, the actual causes are not. Coupled with the fact that prevalence and probably the causes would differ from profession to profession the proposed research is aimed at addressing this among farmers. The overall goal of the study was to determine the prevalence and causes of MSK pain among farmers in the Volta Region of Ghana. 212 farmers were randomly selected for the study. Cross-sectional surveys were carried out to obtain the demographic and socio-economic status of the patients consenting to participate in the studies. Both, qualitative and quantitative statistical methods were employed to determine any association between the farming methods, tools used and the type of MSK pains. The most prevalent locations of MSK pain among farmers were the lower back, upper back, right and left knees. The possible causes of MSK pain reported by farmers in the Volta Region were by walking or by other transportation (riding bicycles and motorbikes) or using implements such as cutlass, hoe and spraying machine.
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    The Impact of Musculoskeletal Pain on the Quality of Life of Farmers in the Volta Region of Ghana
    (Texila International Journal of Public Health, 2023) Cudjoe, A.; Wilson, M.D.; Ahedor, R.D.; et al.
    The incidence of musculoskeletal (MSK) pain among farmers in Ghana is high. In the Volta Region, where the proposed research was conducted, MSK pain is among the top three most reported cases at the Ho Teaching Hospital. While the number of cases is known and treated at the hospital, the root causes are not. The proposed study investigated the effects of MSK pain on the quality of life (QoL) of farmers in the Region, to determine whether the age and sex of farmers in the Volta Region have any relationship with QoL, and to determine whether their knowledge about MSD and QoL was adequate to inform on its management. A total of 212 farmers were selected for the study without any particular order. Cross-sectional surveys were conducted to obtain the demographic and socioeconomic status of the participants. Both qualitative and quantitative statistical methods were used to determine the impact of MSK pain on QoL, the relationship between age/sex and QoL and if the farmers in the Volta Region think they have enough knowledge about their MSDs and are confident in managing them. The study found that the QoL among the farmers was very low. The farmers' QoL was below the average grouped quality of life and about 26.5% can be said to be clearly above the average grouped quality of life. MSK pains have had a huge toll on the quality of life of Volta Region farmers affecting about 73.5% of the respondent farmers.