LASU lecturer wins global virology award

LASU lecturer wins global virology award

A lecturer in the Faculty of Science, Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, AbdulAzeez Anjorin, has won the Global Virus Network (GVN) 2023 Training Scholarship and Award.

According to the university’s Centre for Information and Public Relations (CIPR), Mr Ajorin will attend a short Basic and Translational Virology course at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health Baltimore, in the United States of America.

Mr Ajorin, an award-winning researcher and Acting Head of the Department of Microbiology at LASU, has also been selected among the Bacterial and Viral Bioinformatics Resource Centre (BV-BRC) 2023 Trainees at the Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, Lemont Illinois, USA.

This is a welcome development for Nigeria, a country endemic to Lassa Fever, COVID-19, Yellow Fever, and other infectious diseases.

Situation of viral diseases in Nigeria

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the national public health institute for Nigeria, has been at the forefront of battling viral diseases and protecting Nigerians by coordinating public health preparedness, surveillance, laboratory, and response functions for all infectious diseases.


Lassa Fever, now more endemic in Nigeria, has been spreading in several states across the country’s six geopolitical zones and the federal capital territory.

According to the latest situation report on the NCDC website, from week 1 to week 23, 2023, 164 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 17.1 per cent, which is lower than the CFR for the same period in 2022 (20.0 per cent)

Also, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), before the decline in COVID-19 infections in Nigeria, there were 266,675 confirmed cases, with 3,155 deaths as of 28 June.

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To address the challenge of Lassa fever and other deadly viruses, according to Mr Anjorin, “Nigeria needs a comprehensive understanding of the basics, genomics, proteomics, molecular docking for drug design and vaccine production for each of the viral aetiologies, that is the causative agents.”

He said part of the training sessions focused on using the BV-BRC command-line interface for programmatic search and retrieval of data that will assist the country to analyse, in real time, thousands of information about the microbes causing different diseases, including Lassa fever, for Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

“Advanced steps to understanding the incursion of diseases into and out of Nigeria have been improved upon through the well designed and thoroughly discussed phylogenetic and comparative genomic analyses, sequence assembly and annotation, subspecies classification, protein structure, surveillance data exploration, and transcriptomic analysis, while the trending global metagenomic data analysis was detailed for prompt analysis of such data emanating from Nigeria and other parts of the world,” Mr Anjorin explained.

Knowledge sharing

According to LASU, the training will enhance the capacity development of Mr Anjorin for knowledge sharing among faculty members.

READ ALSO: 2023 UTME: UNILORIN, UNILAG, LASU, others emerge most preferred Nigerian universities (FULL LIST)

LASU noted that in an award letter issued and signed by Christian Brechot, President of GVN and Robert Gallo, the Co-founder and International Advisor for the organisation. It noted that “the scholarship training will be on the fundamental, translational, and clinical aspects of viruses relevant to human health.”

It added that the course will also involve interaction with renowned medical virology leaders, industry partners, policymakers and program officials from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Speaking on its benefits to the university, LASU said the scholarship will also help in the training of both undergraduate and postgraduate students “in the area of genomics and metagenomics using the newly developed bioinformatics tools by the United States Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, Lemont Illinois, and the skills from the GVN training at the Ivy leagues.”

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