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Dr Ukamaka Uchenna Eze (2023)

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Picture of Dr Ukamaka Uchenna Eze

Employing institution: University of Nigeria, Nsukka 

Host institution: Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Project title: Identifying biomarkers for early clinical diagnosis in rabies infection 

Dr Ukamaka Uchenna Eze holds a PhD in small animal medicine, with a major focus on rabies virus. Her current research interest is on clinical diagnosis and alternative treatment of rabies infection. She is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 

AREF Fellowship:

Rabies is one of the zoonotic neglected tropical diseases with case fatality rate of 100%. Unlike other diseases, rabies cannot be diagnosed clinically, thus making post exposure prophylaxis mandatory for almost all dog bite exposures in Africa. Development of clinical diagnostic method for ante-mortem diagnosis of rabies is essential to the control of rabies in a resource –limited continent like Africa. 

For her fellowship, Dr Eze will generate data in identifying important biomarkers for clinical diagnosis of rabies in a natural host for rabies infection, the domestic dog. These biomarkers will be used to develop a kit that can be used for prompt diagnosis of rabies especially in Africa where dog mediated human-rabies is high.   

Dr Eze will be placed at the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, South Africa which is known for its vast and high quality research on rabies and have the highest publication output on rabies in Africa. Professor Sabeta is the current head of the Virology Laboratory and WOAH Expert on Rabies, hence, the direct link between the University and the Agricultural Research Council, Onderstepoort Veterinary Research where the Reference Laboratory is housed. Ukamaka will perform parts of her research experiments across all these departments. 

“Without active surveillance and proper diagnosis of rabies in Africa, elimination of dog-mediated human rabies will be a tall order.”