Pharmaceutical Sciences Annual Research Day Winners
Two UKZN research projects conducted by groups of fourth-year Pharmaceutical Sciences students were winners at the Discipline’s Annual Research Day Symposium held in the Senate Chambers on the Westville campus. The winning groups were in the Community-Based and Laboratory-Based categories.
The winning team in the Community-Based category, under the supervision of Mr Manimbulu Nlooto (Zephy) presented a study titled: “Adverse Event Reporting in HIV Clinical Practice by Healthcare Professionals in the eThekwini Health District”.
This study was conducted to determine whether adverse events are being spontaneously reported by doctors, nurses, pharmacists and post basic pharmacist assistants caring for HIV/AIDS patients attending public health facilities, in the eThekwini Metro Health District.
The study was conducted from June to August 2013 during clinic hours among health-care professionals in accredited antiretroviral sites. Results of the study indicated that 82 percent of all health care professionals stated that they were aware of Standard Operating Procedures on adverse reporting, however only 72 percent followed them properly when reporting.
The team further discovered that spontaneous reporting is limited by the lack of knowledge on the reporting process itself. Lack of human resource capital available was also a problem as many of these institutions were both under-staffed and inadequately equipped to deal with adverse drug events reporting and lack of proper communication between patients and health care professionals due to overload of work as well as language barriers. Health care professionals believed that adverse event reporting could be increased by increasing staff, creating online databases for reporting and offering in- service training.
The Laboratory-Based team, assisted by Ms Elsabe Jones and supervised by Professor Thirumala Govender, presented on: “The Effect of Formulation and Process Variables on Didanosine-Loaded Solid Lipid Nanoparticles (SLNs) for HIV/AIDS Therapy”. The aim of the study was to prepare Didanosine (DDI)-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles and to evaluate the effects of lipid, surfactant type and homogenisation speed on these nanoparticles. DDI is a drug used as part of antiretroviral therapy.
Results of the study indicated that Poloxamer 188 yielded optimal results and through a Transmission Electron Microscope analysis, optimal uniformity in shape and size was attainable at a homogenization speed of 9000 rpm. The team indicated that DDI had been successfully incorporated into SLNs; satisfying the criteria of acceptable size, polydispersity index, zeta potential and morphology. The results suggest that DDIs can be tested for further potential into treating HIV/AIDS in future.
Dr Panjasaram (Vassie) Naidoo, Academic Leader of the Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences congratulated the winning teams and their respective supervisors for their successful presentation at the Research Symposium. ‘A special congratulations to the winners from the community-based category: Fathima Akbar, Shaista Karim, Lerisha Maharaj, Zubair Mansoor, William Maphanga, Snenhlanhla Mthembu, Nkosingiphile Ndlovu, Shahnaaz Sheik and Lance Singh and to the laboratory based winners who were Nikita Sohini Amaidas, Unsa Essop, Bernita Haripersad, Shaveer Joaché Inderjith, Jason Ross Naidoo, Shirvana Ramghulam, Khethukhutula Nhlangothi, Lungile Shezi and Fareeya Vahed.
‘It was indeed a very successful Research Day co-ordinated by Dr Raj Karpoormath, the Research Co-ordinator for 2013. He had an able team of hard-working and dedicated staff who ensured the success of the day. Congratulations to Raj and his team as well,’ said Naidoo.