Why Africans can react adversely to drugs only tested in Europe and US

Do you know why Africans have a violent reaction to certain medications?

Geneticist and stem cell researcher Janine Scholefield says there is much variation in the liver genes that are responsible for breaking down the drugs.

Scholefield will be giving a talk at the Johannesburg TEDex talk on Friday on cellular modelling and stem cells.

She explains some of her talking points to Azania Mosaka.

We are focusing on making one particular cell type at a time. Our main research is working in the liver.

Janine Scholefield, Geneticist, Stem Cell Researcher

We want to be able to figure out why so many people in Africa have really bad reactions to certain drugs.

Janine Scholefield, Geneticist, Stem Cell Researcher

Drug trials largely take place in the west, Europe and America. They are doing their safety tests on a very narrow genetic population of Caucasians, then they come here and they largely work.

Janine Scholefield, Geneticist, Stem Cell Researcher

You have people that have these drugs at their fingertips but they can't stay on them because they make them sick.

Janine Scholefield, Geneticist, Stem Cell Researcher

There was a study published about two years ago that suggests that 1 in 12 people are going into hospital in South Africa not because they are sick from the disease but because they are sick from the reaction.

Janine Scholefield, Geneticist, Stem Cell Researcher

Listen to the full interview below...


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