Current Africa News and Events

Current Africa News and Events, Africa News Articles.
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B cells continue to work against SARS-CoV-2 months after infection, but do not recognize mutant
A new analysis of B cells and more than 1,000 different monoclonal antibodies from 8 patients with COVID-19 shows that, contrary to previous hypotheses, protective B cell responses to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein remain stable and continue to evolve over a 5-month period, many months after the initial period of active viral replication. (2021-02-23)

Dozens of new lichen species discovered in East African mountain forests
The species diversity and relationships of lichens in the genus Leptogium, which are often very difficult to identify to species, were assessed on the basis of DNA analyses using a large dataset collected during more than 10 years from East Africa. (2021-02-22)

Increasing temperatures will hit meat and milk production in East Africa
Heat stress will detrimentally impact future livestock production in East Africa without urgent adaptation measures. (2021-02-18)

Online tool helps estimate COVID's true toll on sub-Saharan Africa
Although early reporting portrayed sub-Saharan Africa as being largely spared from the coronavirus pandemic, an international team led by Princeton researchers reported that determining the true impact of the novel coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa may be complicated by a tremendous variability in risk factors and obscured by surveillance challenges. The researchers developed an interactive online tool for estimating severe coronavirus infections per country based on the impact of various risk factors, such as chronic diseases and access to healthcare. (2021-02-17)

Groundwater recharge rates mapped for Africa
Rapid population growth in many African countries plus climate change has focused attention on the increased development of groundwater for irrigation and drinking water supplies. (2021-02-16)

Neandertal gene variants both increase and decrease the risk for severe COVID-19
Last year, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany showed that a major genetic risk factor for severe COVID-19 is inherited from Neandertals. Now the same researchers show, in a study published in PNAS, that Neandertals also contributed a protective variant. Half of all people outside Africa carry a Neandertal gene variant that reduces the risk of needing intensive care for COVID-19 by 20 percent. (2021-02-16)

Water is a probable vector for mammalian virus transmission
Water is a necessity for all life but its availability can be limited. In geographical areas experiencing dry seasons, animals congregate near the few freshwater sources, often reaching large densities. These sites may be key locations for pathogen transmissions, if viruses remain stable and infectious in water. A team of researchers led by Leibniz-IZW now confirmed this in a study, published in ''Science of the Total Environment''. (2021-02-15)

Disease epidemic possibly caused population collapse in Central Africa 1600-1400 years ago
Bantu-speaking communities in the Congo rainforest underwent a major population collapse 1600-1400 years ago, probably due to a prolonged disease epidemic, and that significant resettlement did not restart until around 1000 years ago. These findings revise the population history of than seven present-day African countries and challenges the belief that the settlement of Central Africa by Bantu-speaking communities was a continuous process from about 4000 years ago until the start of the transatlantic slave trade. (2021-02-12)

Coronavirus test from a suitcase
A portable suitcase could aid quick diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 cases in Africa. In cooperation with several African universities, scientists at Leipzig University have found that a mini-laboratory provides test results that are almost as good as a PCR test - and almost in real time. The researchers have now published their findings in the journal 'Analytical Chemistry'. (2021-02-11)

Cataloguing genetic information about yams
New collection of resources will help yam breeders and farmers. (2021-02-10)

Clients of female sex workers should be targeted for HIV prevention and treatment in South Africa
The researchers found that over a ten-year period (2010-19), sex between female sex workers and their paying clients contributed 6.9 per cent of new HIV infections, while sex between clients with their non-paying partners contributed 41.9 per cent (2021-02-04)

Huge methane emission rise follows extreme rainfall in East Africa
Recent heavy rainfall in East Africa has led to substantially larger seasonal emissions of a potent greenhouse gas, new research shows. (2021-02-03)

CABI study updates safer options for fall armyworm control in Africa
CABI scientists have updated the first major study of potential biological controls that could be used in the fight against the devastating fall armyworm in Africa. The research offers new insight into evidence of their efficacy in the field and increased availability as commercial products. (2021-02-03)

South Africa: the rising temperatures will cost up to 20% of per capita GDP
Reduced wage gap between high-skilled and low-skilled workers, and severe impacts on economic productivity. Climate change effects on economics and labour in a new study led by the CMCC Foundation and EIEE (RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment). (2021-02-02)

Past river activity in northern Africa reveals multiple Sahara greenings
The analysis of sediment cores from the Mediterranean Sea combined with Earth system models tells the story of major environmental changes in North Africa over the last 160,000 years. (2021-01-29)

Ancient proteins help track early milk drinking in Africa
Got milk? The 1990s ad campaign highlighted the importance of milk for health and wellbeing, but when did we start drinking the milk of other animals? And how did the practice spread? A new study led by scientists from Germany and Kenya highlights the critical role of Africa in the story of dairying, showing that communities there were drinking milk by at least 6,000 years ago. (2021-01-27)

New malaria mosquito is emerging in African cities
Larvae of a new malaria mosquito species are abundantly present in water containers in cities in Ethiopia. The mosquito, Anopheles stephensi, is the main malaria mosquito in India but only appeared on the African continent a few years ago. It has now been found in cities and towns in urban settings in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Djibouti. Malaria can become an increasing problem for urban areas in Ethiopia and elsewhere in Africa. (2021-01-27)

Late rainy season reliably predicts drought in regions prone to food insecurity
The onset date of the yearly rainy season reliably predicts if seasonal drought will occur in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa that are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, and could help to mitigate its effects. Shraddhanand Shukla and colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara's Climate Hazards Center, present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on January 20, 2021. (2021-01-20)

Early humans used chopping tools to break animal bones and consume the bone marrow
- Using advanced scientific methods, researchers from Tel Aviv University found that stone tools of the type known as 'chopping tools' were used to break open the bones of animals. - The researchers: ''The bones must be broken neatly in two, which requires great skill and precision''. - Tools of this type were used for over two million years. They were found in large quantities at prehistoric sites all over the Old World, but no one understood their exact function. (2021-01-20)

Cosmic beasts and where to find them
Two giant radio galaxies have been discovered with South Africa's powerful MeerKAT telescope. These galaxies are thought to be amongst the largest single objects in the Universe. The discovery has been published today in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. (2021-01-18)

Intertropical Convergence Zone limits climate predictions in the tropical Atlantic
The strongest climate fluctuation on time scales of a few years is the so-called El Niño phenomenon, which originates in the Pacific. A similar circulation pattern exists in the Atlantic, which scientists under the leadership of GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel have studied in more detail. Their results, now published in the international journal Nature Communications, contribute to a better understanding of this climate fluctuation and pose a challenge for prediction models. (2021-01-15)

First human culture lasted 20,000 years longer than thought
Homo sapiens emerged in Africa around 300 thousand years ago, where their fossils are found with the earliest cultural and technological expressions of our species. This repertoire, commonly referred to as the ''Middle Stone Age'', remained widely in use across much of Africa until around 60-30 thousand years ago. New research in Senegal shows this 'first human culture' persisted until 11 thousand years ago - 20 thousand years longer than previously thought. (2021-01-11)

Alert system shows potential for reducing deforestation, mitigating climate change
Forest loss declined 18% in African nations where a new satellite-based program provides free alerts when it detects deforestation activities. (2021-01-04)

COVID-19's impact on cancer prevention and control in Africa
When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Africa, the continent was already struggling to deal with another public health crisis - a growing cancer epidemic characterized by more than one million new cancer cases and nearly 700,000 deaths per year. (2020-12-31)

Gates Foundation helps UC study sexual health of South African youth
An important new finding by University of Cincinnati researchers could help slow the transmission of HIV/AIDS and reduce pregnancies among adolescent girls in rural South Africa. (2020-12-22)

Evolution of a killer: How African Salmonella made the leap from gut to bloodstream
University of Liverpool scientists have exploited the combined power of genomics and epidemiology to understand how a type of Salmonella bacteria evolved to kill hundreds of thousands of immunocompromised people in Africa. (2020-12-21)

Sixfold increase in risk
A research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has quantified the effects of an infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) on the development of cervical cancer. Their results show that the risk of developing cervical cancer is six times higher in women who are infected with HIV. Southern and Eastern Africa are particularly affected. (2020-12-21)

Researchers propose process to detect and contain emerging diseases
University of Arkansas biologist Kristian Forbes is part of a global team of researchers developing a strategy to detect and intercept diseases emerging from wildlife in Africa that could eventually infect humans. (2020-12-18)

Shipwrecked ivory a treasure trove for understanding elephants and 16th century trading
An international collaboration of researchers in Namibia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States reporting in the journal Current Biology on December 17 have found that the cargo of a 16th century shipwreck known as the Bom Jesu included more than 100 elephant tusks, which paleogenomic and isotopic analyses trace to many distinct herds that once roamed West Africa. (2020-12-17)

Study tracks elephant tusks from 16th century shipwreck
In 1533, the Bom Jesus - a Portuguese trading vessel carrying 40 tons of cargo including gold, silver, copper and more than 100 elephant tusks - sank off the coast of Africa near present-day Namibia. The wreck was found in 2008, and scientists say they now have determined the source of much of the ivory recovered from the ship. (2020-12-17)

Change in global precipitation patterns as a result of climate change
The Earth's climate system is largely determined by the differences in temperature between the tropics and the poles. Global warming is likely to cause global atmospheric circulation to change and progressively revert to a situation similar to that of 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. This is the conclusion of a study published in Nature Communications. (2020-12-17)

A no-meat diet everywhere will not solve the climate crisis
Scientists argue Authors further argue that a singular focus on negative livestock-related environmental impacts ignores the critical but more positive role livestock play in ecosystem services, income and asset provision or insurance in low- and middle-income countries. It also overlooks more systemic questions about how animals are raised. (2020-12-16)

First peer-reviewed results of phase 3 human trials of Oxford vaccine show efficacy
Wits University scientists were amongst the co-authors who published the first peer-reviewed results of phase 3 human trials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, in prestigious scientific journal The Lancet, on 8 December. Wits leads the SA leg of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine trials. (2020-12-09)

Why do elephants and tigers still roam in India? Study offers clues
A study documenting four extinctions of large mammals on the Indian Subcontinent sheds light on why elephants, tigers, and rhinos still roam there. (2020-12-08)

Miniature guttural toads on Mauritius and Réunion stun researchers
Researchers from the DSI/NRF Center for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa have found that, scarcely a hundred years after Guttural Toads were introduced to the islands of Mauritius and Réunion, their overall body size has been reduced by up to a third compared to their counterparts in South Africa. (2020-12-08)

The impact of Neandertal DNA on human health
A researcher at the University of Tartu described new associations between Neandertal DNA and autoimmune diseases, prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes. (2020-12-03)

African trade routes sketched out by mediaeval beads
The chemical composition of glass beads and their morphological characteristics can reveal where they come from. Archaeologists from the University of Geneva analyzed glass beads found at rural sites in Mali and Senegal from between the 7th and 13th centuries AD. The scientists demonstrate that the glass they are made of probably came from Egypt, the Levantine coast and the Middle East. The results show that international trade linking Africa to Europe and Asia during was connected with local and regional trade. (2020-12-02)

Warning signs over effectiveness of HIV 'wonder drug' in sub-Saharan Africa
Dolutegravir, the current first-line treatment for HIV, may not be as effective as hoped in sub-Saharan Africa, suggests new research published on World AIDS Day. The study finds that this so-called 'wonder drug' may be less effective in patients resistant to older drugs. (2020-12-01)

Towards accessible healthcare for all in sub-Saharan Africa
A state-of-the-art georeferenced database of public healthcare facilities. In the prestigious journal PNAS, a new study published with the contribution of the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE) provides a comprehensive planning-oriented, inequality-focused analysis of different types of healthcare accessibility in sub-Saharan Africa. (2020-11-30)

Satellite images confirm uneven impact of climate change
University of Copenhagen researchers have been following vegetation trends across the planet's driest areas using satellite imagery from recent decades. They have identified a troubling trend: Too little vegetation is sprouting up from rainwater in developing nations, whereas things are headed in the opposite direction in wealthier ones. As a result, the future could see food shortages and growing numbers of climate refugees. (2020-11-26)

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