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How to access CBN’s healthcare grant

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Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued the guidelines to its Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS).

The grant was designed to help strengthen the public healthcare system with innovative financing of research and development (R&D) in new and improved drugs, vaccines and diagnostics of infectious diseases in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by CBN via its site in Saturday and seen by Nairametrics. The guideline stated that the HSRDIS is designed to trigger intense national R&D activities to develop a Nigerian vaccine, drugs and herbal medicines against the spread of COVID-19.

It stated, “It would also curb any other communicable or non-communicable diseases through the provision of grants to biotechnological and pharmaceutical companies, institutions, researchers, and research institutes.

The Scheme is intended to boost domestic manufacturing of critical drugs and vaccines to ensure their sustainable domestic supply and reduce the bulk manufacturing costs of the drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines in Nigeria.

Source of fund

According to the apex bank, the Scheme shall be funded from the Developmental Component of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF).

Grant Limit
While Research activities would not access more than N50 million, development/Manufacturing activities will access more than N500.0 million.

CBN emphasised that the disbursement under the Scheme shall be made to beneficiaries in tranches subject to approved milestones achieved.

Timeframe

The timeframe given to research activities was not more than two years from the date of release of fund and Development/Manufacturing activities are not more than one (1) year from the date of release of fund.

Who is eligible:

Candidate vaccines undergoing pre-clinical testing or trials shall not be eligible for consideration under this Scheme.

But candidate vaccines undergoing clinical testing or trials shall be eligible for consideration under the Scheme is considered to have high potential to cross the clinical trial stage and prospects of scale by the Body of Experts (BoE).

It stated, “In applying for the grant, the applicant shall be required to have conducted pre-clinical testing of the candidate drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines, and obtained certification from relevant health authorities for further research and development.

“Special consideration shall be given to candidate drugs, herbal medicines and
vaccines with high scientific merit against emerging infections and contribute to the development of the Nigerian vaccine.”

Modalities

The applicant(s) shall submit its application, with relevant documentation of validation from relevant health authorities, trial results, patent registration details (if any) and development timetable to the Body of Experts (BoE).

“The BoE shall evaluate applications and recommend to the CBN. CBN shall review for documentation adequacy and completeness.

“Upon approval, the approved grant sum shall be released to the applicant’s account with any PFI of his/her choice. The beneficiary shall submit a periodic progress report on the project to the CBN.

“The CBN shall have a proprietary right overall financed R&D outcomes or products. Equally, licensing protocol for the mass manufacturing of developed drugs, phytomedicines and vaccines shall be defined by the BoE in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP),” it added.

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Health

Carrots’ wholesome health benefits

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Naturally sugary, delicious and crunchy, carrots are healthy additions that can make it to the vegetable list in one’s diet. Indeed, these root vegetables come with wholesome health benefiting compounds such as beta-carotenes, falcarinol, Vitamin A, minerals and antioxidants in ample amounts.

Research shows it that it can help reduce cardiovascular disease, CVD. Intake of fruits and vegetables in the study was categorised by colour and focused on four-colour categories: green, orange/yellow, red/purple, and white. Out of these four categories, orange/yellow, in particular, prevent CVD. Studies have also shown that flavonoid compounds in carrots help protect against skin, lung and oral cavity cancers.

Although carrots are available throughout the year, locally grown carrots are currently in season. Carrots can be as small as two inches or as long as three feet, ranging in diameter from one-half of an inch to over two inches. Carrot roots have a crunchy texture and a sweet and minty aromatic taste, while the greens are fresh tasting and slightly bitter.

Carrots vary widely in colour and shape depending on the cultivar types. Generally, oriental taproots are long, featuring flat upper end with tapering, tail-like, lower ends.

In research, participants who had the least carrot intake had the least amount of CVD risk reduction, even though they still received risk-reducing benefits from their carrot intake. However, participants who ate at least 25 more grammes of carrots, with 25 grammes being less than one-quarter of a cup, had a significantly lower risk of CVD.

And the groups of participants who ate 50 or 75 grammes more had an even more greatly reduced risk of CVD. Much of the research on carrots has traditionally focused on carotenoids and their important antioxidant benefits. But recent research has turned the health spotlight onto another category of phytonutrients in carrots called polyacetylenes. In carrots, the most important polyacetylenes include falcarinol and falcarinol.

Several recent studies have identified these carrot polyacetylenes as phytonutrients that can help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells, especially when these polyacetylenes are found in their reduced versus oxidized form. These new findings are thrilling because they suggest a key interaction between the carotenoids and polyacetylenes in carrots.

Apparently, the rich carotenoid content of carrots not only helps prevent oxidative damage inside our body, but it may also help prevent oxidative damage to the carrot polyacetylenes. In other words, these two amazing groups of phytonutrients in carrots may work together in a synergistic way to maximize health benefits.

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Health

Babies and Pre-pregnancy Diets

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A mother’s diet around the time of conception can permanently influence her baby’s DNA, recent research suggests. Previous animal experiments show diet in pregnancy can switch genes on or off, but this is the first human evidence. The research followed women in the rural Gambia, where seasonal climate leads to big differences in diet between rainy and dry seasons. It emphasizes the need for a well-balanced diet before conception and in pregnancy, says a team of the United Kingdom and the United States, US, researchers.

To arrive at this conclusion, scientists followed 84 pregnant women who conceived at the peak of the rainy season, and about the same number who conceived at the peak of the dry season. Nutrient levels were measured in blood samples taken from the women, while the DNA of their babies was analysed two to eight months after birth.
Branwen Henning, lead scientist, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said it was the first demonstration in humans that a mother’s nutrition at the time of conception can change how her child’s genes will be interpreted for life. “Our results have shown that maternal nutrition pre-conception and in early pregnancy is important and may have implications for health outcomes of the next generation. Women should have a well-balanced food diet prior to conception and during pregnancy,” Henning said.

Experiments in mice show diet during pregnancy can have a life-long impact on the genes of offspring. For instance, the coat colour of a mouse is influenced by its mother’s diet. These are known as “epigenetic effects” (modifications to DNA that turn genes on and off). One such modification involves attaching chemicals called methyl groups to DNA. Researchers found that infants from rainy season conceptions had consistently higher rates of methylation in all six genes studied. These were linked to various levels of nutrients in the mother’s blood. But it is not yet known what the genes do and what effect the process might have.

Rob Waterland of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, US, who is a co-researcher, said the findings published in Nature Communications were a proof in principle that a mother’s diet can have epigenetic effects, and “can leave permanent marks on her child’s genome on all the cells of the body,” Waterland noted.
Andrew Prentice, co-author of the report and a professor of international nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, added: “Our ultimate goal is to define an optimal diet for mothers-to-be that would prevent defects in the methylation process.”

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