Never underestimate the potential of Kenyans. For the first time after decades of HIV/Aids devastation, the world is staring at a real possibility of finding a cure for the disease. Importantly, a Kenyan is in the forefront of the research expected to wipe HIV from the face of the earth.
Recently, it was announced that Benson Edagwa and a team of researchers had successfully eliminated HIV from humanised mice (mice carrying functioning human genes).
This is the first time such a feat has been pulled off. The researchers combined Laser Art technology with a gene-editing technique, known as CRISPR-Cas9, to completely eliminate HIV from the body.
When this treatment matures in the next few years, it will eliminate the need for people to take antiretrovirals every day, reducing the frequency to an injection a month or even once a year.
Who is this Kenyan on the cusp of making history? Prof Edagwa was born 37 years ago in Western Kenya. He was a day scholar at Mbale High School and, not surprisingly, his father did not expect him to perform exceptionally well. But he did and went on to study Chemistry at Moi University before moving to the US for further studies. Today he is a lecturer and researcher at University of Nebraska in the US.
Edagwa's story is inspiring. Besides giving the world hope, it shows that Kenya's education is not useless as it has been depicted. It proves that every child's dream is valid and if they work hard, it matters not whether they go to an academy or day school.