Rhodes conference connects continents for affordable cures
Rhodes University hosted the Frank Warren Conference from 4 to 8 December 2016 with a strong medicinal chemistry theme, especially for poverty related diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and malaria, prevalent in Africa. “These diseases affect millions of people, the treatments have to be dirt cheap and so there’s not a lot of pharmaceutical interest in putting millions into it,” said Prof Rui Krause, Head of the Chemistry Department at Rhodes University, and organising committee member for the conference. “There’s been a growing realisation in South Africa that if we don’t start to train people that can look at the medicinal chemistry aspect, the production aspect, that can understand the disease from the biology, disease, treatment perspective, nobody is going to be doing it.” This premier International Organic Chemistry Conference drew over 170 delegates from South America, Argentina, Asia and Africa.
“We have tried to link within some people from South America, who face very simi- lar kinds of conditions and they have similar kinds of diseases, for example a huge burden of tuberculosis. Others deal with malaria and leishmanisas, all diseases that predominantly affect countries in South America, Africa, Asia, and for which there is not a lot of money for research,” Krause said. The series was hosted in memory of Professor Frank L Warren, considered to be one of the leading scientists of his generation. • Catherine Deiner is Rhodes University’s former media