Everything in our environment is made up of countless tiny molecules. These are the basic building blocks of living organisms and chemical compounds.
Molecules underlie every living thing, from humans to animals to plants to parasites to bacteria to viruses. Each species is built on molecules. Scientists may learn fundamental precepts and relationships that control all types of life by studying them.
An alteration at the molecular level will change the morphology and physiology of an organism. This is important for several reasons. One example is that it aids in the study of diseases. Molecular research was able to analyze the infection pattern of the novel coronavirus and how to evade contacting it at the onset of the pandemic and further led to the development of a vaccine.
The molecular study may also enable customizing medicine in the future – based on a patient’s DNA. It might also be crucial to the therapeutic intervention in cancer, diabetes, and sickle cell anaemia.
However, there is a catch: molecular analysis is costly. It necessitates technical equipment and chemicals, which are expensive.
Nigeria and a lot of other African countries have a minimal budget for research and development.
The molecular investigation is frequently neglected in favour of other studies that yield quick answers to pressing social issues, such as disease outbreak control measures.
However, a molecular study can help improve health in Nigeria. The genetic composition of plants, animals, and humans in Nigeria may hold valuable information for future medical advances.
Nigeria is also beset with a slew of contagious ailments. The tropical climate of Nigeria allows germs that cause illnesses to proliferate.
The development of a study into the molecular features of these bacteria would be beneficial in disease prevention and management both in the country and internationally.
With limited resources, molecular researchers in Nigeria have already achieved a lot. They were among the first to sequence the SARS-CoV-2 genome, doing so within days of the virus’s initial appearance in Nigeria.
Many years of global and local financing were required to establish capability at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, as well as the African Centre of Excellence for the Genomics of Infectious Disease.
Obviously, Nigeria can contribute more to solving worldwide health challenges with better facilities for the country’s scientists.
The National Research Foundation of South Africa, for example, has committed to ongoing investment in HIV and AIDS research including adding COVID-19 to the picture in recent times.
The majority of Nigerian scientists working on molecular study lack specialized equipment because they are expensive and few in the country. The majority of the chemical reagents and equipment for molecular study have to be imported. The specialized laboratories in the country that have the equipment are few and not enough for the over 200 million citizens.
The lack of institutional support for acquiring molecular study reagents and equipment prevents universities, the perfect places for such facilities, from doing so.
The continued reliance on foreign researchers to offer solutions to Africa’s unique health problems is not acceptable.
Nigeria has the potential to provide a huge amount of expertise to the molecular study. This will require the assistance of the government, organizations, funding bodies at local and international levels, as well as molecular researchers.
The diagnosis of a problem in one location may have far-reaching consequences for global health. Thus, there must be a unanimous effort to confront medical problems wherever they emerge.
There is a pressing necessity for local and foreign grant agencies to expand their investment in African molecular research.
Research institutions and universities must create a conducive atmosphere by giving researchers access to the facilities, reagents, and equipment they require. This will encourage researchers to commit more to tackling health problems as well as training younger scientists in the field.