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Medical Research Council, Fajara
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Contact Address Details:

MRC Unit - The Gambia
Head Office
Atlantic Road (Boulevard)
Fajara, P.O. Box 273, Banjul
The Gambia
West Africa

Tel no:  +220 4495443
                      Ext 2306

Fax:               4494154
Field stations map

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The MRC laboratoriesMRC laboratory, Fajara was founded in Gambia back in 1947 when the WWII British Army Hospital was handed over to Medical Research Council. Its main unit is at Fajara on the Atlantic Road.

MRC is financed by the UK Government and it represents the UK's single largest medical research investment in a developing country.

The unit's research concentrates on communicable diseases of direct concern to The Gambia and the African continent, for the purpose of minimising the burden of illness and mortality in the country and the developing world as a whole. It is conducts research in nutrition, reproductive health and non-communicable diseases.

Picture of main buildingThe research programme of the unit covers basic scientific research (microbiology, virology, immunology, and molecular biology), clinical trials and interventionist studies, developing vaccines, large-scale epidemiological surveys. Some of the diseases studied are tuberculosis's, malaria, HIV / Aids virus. The field and laboratory-based work relies on modern, well equipped research and clinical facilities and attracts international funding. Facilities include: cold centrifuge, hot room, light and fluorescent microscopes, refrigerators and freezers, incubators, RNA Ribolizer, BACTEC 9000 MB, MGIT Culture system, Cryostorage, Cat 3 facility, etc.

The staff list consists of around 200 scientists, clinicians and senior administrative staff from many parts of the world, as well as hosting many visiting researchers, and over 500 support staff. Aside from MRC's research centre in Fajara, there are also 4 field stations which are at Keneba, Farafenni, Wali Kunda, Basse as well as 1 in Caio in Guinea Bissau. The Gambia offers a unique setting for bench, bush and bedside studies.

HIV / Aids:
Studies from the MRC field station in Caio, Guinea-Bissau, where approximately 8% of adults are infected with HIV-2, show that survival is not affected by HIV-2 status for the great majority of infected adults. The plasma viral load is significantly lower in HIV-2 compared to HIV-1-infected people despite a similar pro-viral load at the same stage of infection. The lower viremia is likely responsible for the low sexual and perinatal HIV-2 transmission. However, a minority of people with HIV-2 infection behave as progressors, with high levels of plasma virus and declining CD4+ T cell levels, leading to a clinical picture indistinguishable from AIDS caused by HIV-1.

First work on nutritional problems at Geneiri, 100 miles up the Gambia River.

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