Researchers at the University of Pretoria (UP) are producing unique nanobodies that could be of ground-breaking use in rapid tests and as a therapy for COVID-19. In tests conducted in collaboration with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the nanobodies have been shown to neutralise SARS-CoV-2 in cells.
A species of mosquito that can carry malaria – known as Anopheles stephensi – has invaded eastern Africa and is quickly moving across the region. Moina Spooner, from The Conversation Africa, asked Jeremy Herren and Clifford Mutero to provide insights into why this invasion is happening and what can be done to protect people from it.
Movember is an annual campaign in which men are called upon to grow moustaches during November to raise awareness of men’s health issues – including that of prostate cancer.
“One health” refers to a transdisciplinary approach that focuses on the convergence of humans, animals and their various environments. The University of Pretoria (UP) is strategically well positioned to lead this research field because it has several faculties which, combined, have the necessary expertise and infrastructure to address the transdisciplinary research aspects of this complex field.
Professor Wanda Markotter is a virologist who began her academic career at the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2004 and is currently the Director of its Centre for Viral Zoonoses in the Department of Medical Virology at the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
Globally, 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and about nine million lose their lives to the disease annually. But next-generation DNA technologies and sequencing are heralding a change to the outlook of the disease, and the rapid development and roll-out of DNA tests could save lives.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign by private and public healthcare organisations to increase awareness of the disease on a national scale. In the infographic below, UP researcher Professor Annie Joubert guides us through some facts on breast cancer and what you need to know about the disease.
The Whale Unit at the University of Pretoria’s Mammal Research Institute (MRI) will be conducting this year’s aerial survey of southern right whales from 28 September to mid-October. This is the 41st annual southern right whale photo-identification aerial survey, making it one of the longest-running datasets on any marine mammal worldwide.
A University of Pretoria professor of zoology was part of a team that recently published a study that reveals that tiny hummingbirds living in the Andes Mountains in Peru drop their body temperature from 40°C to 3.3°C, near freezing point, to survive bitterly cold nights. “It is the lowest body temperature reported so far in any bird or non-hibernating mammal,” says UP’s Professor Andrew McKechnie.
Dr Siona O’Connell is based in the University of Pretoria’s School of the Arts and is a founding member of the Critical African Studies project at UP (CAST UP). She was the recipient of the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of the Humanities in Africana and Latin American Studies, Art and Art History and Film and Media Studies at Colgate University in the USA.
Uitgesmyt – ‘cast out’ – is a documentary by Dr Siona O’Connell which tells the story of the first land restitution case in South Africa.
While kangaroos are distinguished for their well-developed hindlimbs which they use to hop across the Australian outback, it seems South Africa has its own unusual hopper – the springhare. A new study published in the Journal of Anatomy suggests that “the diminutive springhare is a bit better at hopping than its more famous Australian counterpart, at least when it comes to muscle-tendon design, and implications for fast and accelerative hopping”.
Professor Janine Wichmann is an environmental epidemiologist and Head of the Environmental and Occupational Sciences Division, School of Health Systems and Public Health, at the University of Pretoria.
Watch this short video which takes us through how air pollution is linked with human ill health, such as respiratory disease, and the links which UP researchers, Dr Bukola Olutola and Prof Janine Wichmann, have found between air pollution and respiratory disease on cold and warm days in a study carried out in Secunda.
Global warming and air pollution have something in common: their effects on human health. Air pollution is a well-known cause of breathing problems. Hot weather can also bring on these symptoms.
Video: The polyphagous shot hole borer (PSHB) is a tiny, invasive black beetle from Asia that has recently been discovered in South Africa. Although only 2 mm in length, this tiny beetle has detrimental consequences for South African trees, as it carries a destructive fungus, Fusarium euwallaceae, from tree to tree.
Here’s a handy list of the tree species which have been known to be infected by the polyphagous shot hole borer already.
Dr Trudy Paap is a participant in the International Plant Sentinel Network who was tasked to do routine surveys for tree pests and diseases in the National Botanical Gardens of South Africa, a project funded by the South African National Biodiversity Institute. It was during one of these surveys that she noticed small lesions resembling shotgun marks on the stems and branches of mature London plane (Platanus x acerifolia) in the historical avenue of the KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden in Pietermaritzburg.
In the age of genomics and bioinformatics scientists can produce massive amounts of data on deadly fungi threatening biodiversity and agriculture.
Most of us understand the critical importance of monitoring the spread of diseases. And it is as important for plant diseases as it is for humans.