Kefas Mugittu (Ph.D.)
Our Chief Executive Officer is Dr. Kefas Mugittu (Ph.D.). Dr. Mugittu holds a PhD in microbiology (malaria resistance) from the University of Basel, Switzerland and he did his Post-doctoral Fellowship in tuberculosis (TB) at Novartis Institute of Tropical Diseases (NITD).
Dr. Kefas Mugittu also brings 2.5 years of medicine research experience from Swiss-American pharmaceutical giant Novartis International AG through his work at the Novartis Institute of Tropical Diseases (NITD) in Singapore. He is a versatile, determined and motivated Biomedical cum Molecular Biology Scientists with over 18 years of experience in research and development, designing and implementing a number of human malaria therapeutic efficacy testing projects involving recruitment of patients, drug administration and assessing treatment responses.
Dr. Kefas Mugittu also gained experience working with World Health Organization (WHO's) programs on disease monitoring. He was part of a panel that conducted a large-scale (n = 3000) Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) trials in 9 sub-Saharan Africa including Kenya, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Senegal, Gabon and The Gambia. These studies assessed both clinical and parasitological responses following treatment with an ACT. Briefly, patients’ blood samples were collected before treatment (D0) and examined for malaria parasites. Infected patients were put on a standard dose of an ACT. Treatment responses were assessed by microscopic examination on Days 7, 14, 21 and 28 post-treatment. Observation of malaria parasite(s) on any of these days represented a recurrent infection, the so-called crude treatment outcomes; which could be due to either recrudescence (treatment failure) or new infection (reinfection) acquired when drug blood levels have declined. Dr. Kefas conducted molecular analyses to assess genetic diversity and used the established genetic pattern to sort out recrudescent infections and established the so-called PCR-corrected treatment outcomes. His molecular genotyping protocol and the algorithm for distinguishing recrudescence from new infections was later on adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an integral tool in malaria efficacy studies. In addition, he assessed and profiled the resistance markers in genes associated with antimalarial resistance. Collectively, these findings paved way for continent-wide withdrawal of malaria monotherapies and adoption of ACTs.
Later on Dr. Kefas took up a Post-doctoral (PD) Fellowship position at the Novartis Institute of Tropical Diseases (NITD) in Singapore. He worked on molecular biology of TB, using state-of-the-art facilities at NITD’s TB laboratory and the genomics laboratories at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS). He developed a sensitive high-throughput massarray-based molecular tool for TB strain identification and resistance profiling. Both of these comprehensive molecular tools allow for rapid assessment of the dynamics of malaria and tuberculosis including emergence of resistance to in-use drugs and re-emergence of susceptibility to withdrawn drugs.