Johnstone Otieno Omia

Student Short Biography:

Date and place of Birth: Johnstone OtienoOmia was born on 9th August 1978 in Nandi Hills and was baptized on 12th December 1978.

Family: He is the fifth born child to the second family of his father John Omia. His mother is Rebecca Mwenesi. He is married with two children.

Education: He attended Kimondi primary school from 1985 to 1993, He passed his KCPE exam with 517/700 marks and selected to join Kapsabet Boys High school in February 1994. However, due to lack of enough school fees his studies at Kapsabet boys High school were cut short. He was admitted to Givogi high school after his cousin Caleb Mweresa, convinced him and his mother to join the school because as it was an affordable. He sat for his KCSE exam in 1997, obtained a mean grade of B plus with 83 points. He joined Egerton university in 1999 and graduated in 2004 with a Honors degree in B. Ed. Science. He was admitted to the university of Nairobi, CEBIB to study anMsc. degree in Health and Environmental Biotechnology completed his studies in 2020.

Work: He has taught at various institutions at high school level and also at Technical university of Mombasa.

Career Interests: Teaching and research in Biochemistry, Molecular biology/virology and biotechnology.

Project Summary

Thesis / Project  Title: Characterization of circulating Coxsackieviruses in Kenya in 2007

Thesis / Project  Abstract:

Coxsackieviruses (CVs) infect humans and cause various Coxsackievirus infections (CVIs). CVs are classified in Picornaviridaefamily, genus Enterovirus and are of species A and B. Currently,CVIs have no specific cure but are managed by various methods. Unmanaged CVIs may be fatal. In 2007, a high prevalence of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) was detected by clinicians engaged to carry out ILI survey in selected regions of Kenya by the US Army Medical Research Directorate Kenya (USAMD-K). Twenty-two (22) out of 2925 nasopharyngeal samples collected from patients were positive for CVIs through IFA procedure. Whereas CVs caused some of the ILIs, the prevalence of CVIs, the identity of the CVs and other virologic characteristics were unknown. To begin to address this knowledge gap, this study was carried out with the main objective being to serologically and molecularly characterize CVs in the 22 samples to determine the prevalence of CVIs, species, serotypes, the phylogeny, and the evolution of the CVs to relate the data to ILIs of 2007. The CVs were multiplied in Rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) cells, their RNAs extracted and their partial VP1 genes amplified and sequenced. Twelve (12) CVs of CV_B species; serotypes CV_B2-CV_B5 were identified, 11NS were assigned accession no.s MH522779 - MH522789 and uploaded on GeneBank servers on 10th March 2019. Seroprevalence nice actual prevalence of CVIs were 0.74% and 0.41% respectively. All the CVs had mutations and only of CVs of serotypes CV_B2 and CV_B3 had evolved divergent VP1 proteins with high infectivity that partly caused the high prevalence of ILIs in 2007. Data from this study enriches the information base on CVs in Kenya and can be used to develop diagnostics and therapeutics against CVIs.