The Africa Union and AfricaCDC, in partnership with SANBI, KRISP, H3AbioNet and the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases have started a weekly Webinar series to capacitate African researchers on the generation and analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomic data in Africa.
The Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA) presents a molecular epidemiological study of the first twenty-one SARS-CoV-2 whole genomes sampled in the first port of entry, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), during the first month of the epidemic.
This report focuses on the first SARS-CoV-2 388 genomes from Africa. These genomes were accessed from GISAID and analysed against a backdrop of reference sequences. By comparing our viral genomes against others, we can infer how and when SARS-CoV-2 was introduced into Africa and how it has spread within the continent.
KRISP is a founding member of the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa. A network of laboratories, scientists and academic institutions that have joined forces to ensure the public health responses to COVID-19 in South Africa have access to the best possible scientific data.
Experts weigh in on how to avoid inaccurate results during Covid-19 testing. Distance, hair and sweat can all affect the reading of the temperature scans you've been experiencing at work, shopping malls and schools.
Nick Hammer chats to Prof Tulio De Oliveira, Dr. Richard Lessells and Prof Yunus Moosa about the trial on the UK of Dexamethasone for COVID-19.
With Covid-19 now growing by leaps and bounds in South Africa, a Mail & Guardian survey has spotlighted the nationwide shortage of staff, equipment and facilities needed to cope with the infected people who are set to flood the healthcare system when the outbreak hits its peak.
L’Afrique apporte sa pierre à la science (9). Cinq cents personnes du Cap, foyer de l’épidémie de coronavirus en Afrique du Sud, participent à une étude en double aveugle sur le vaccin contre la tuberculose.
On 9 March, a patient who had recently traveled to Europe and had symptoms of COVID-19 visited the emergency department of St. Augustine’s, a private hospital in Durban, South Africa. Eight weeks later, 39 patients and 80 staff linked to the hospital had been infected, and 15 patients had died—fully half the death toll in KwaZulu-Natal province at that time.
L’Afrique apporte sa pierre à la science (3). Dans une étude saluée par la revue « Science », le laboratoire Krisp établit avec une rare finesse la chaîne de contamination dans un hôpital de Durban.
An investigation into the first major outbreak of Covid-19, at a Durban hospital, shows that staff members spread the virus, raising concerns about the safety of healthcare workers as infections rise.
South Africa leads this continent in many ways. Right now, it is poised to lead Africa into the next, most dangerous phase of the pandemic, as the country braces itself for a dramatic rise in infections that will almost certainly overwhelm its relatively well-resourced healthcare system.
The South African Obstetric Surveillance System Consortium in partnership with the SA MRC Maternal and Infant Health Strategies Unit and KRISP/UKZN invites clinicians from South African obstetric institutions to participate in this national study.
The report outlines in detail how SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, spread through Netcare’s 149-bed facility in Durban. This piece in Bhekisisa also contains simple take-away messages and recommendations on how to protect health care workers and hospitals from COVID-19. Download the full investigative report here.
Durban, South Africa, March 9. A man goes to the emergency room of the San Agustín hospital. He coughs, his head hurts. They admit him and share a stay with a woman who has had a heart attack. That man has just come from Europe, the lady lives in a nursing home.
A new investigative report details the rapid spread of coronavirus disease in St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, and how it could have been prevented. The study, which Bhekisisa has seen, was conducted by researchers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine and the KwaZulu?Natal Research Innovation & Sequencing Platform, KRISP.
South Africa’s lockdown seems to have stopped the winter influenza outbreak in its tracks. School closures and travel bans are likely to have prevented seasonal flu from taking hold. A mild flu season will help in the fight against Covid-19, but lifting lockdown could result in flu resurging.
As schools get ready to reopen, models suggest the country will still not have enough ICU beds at the virus peak. In the meantime, court battles rage while unions fight to keep miners safe.
This report presents the findings and recommendations of an investigation into a nosocomial outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at St. Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, South Africa. The investigation began on 4 April after the identification of a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and three deaths at the hospital. Investigation methods included medical record reviews, ward visits, and interviews with health care workers and management. A detailed timeline of patient cases was constructed to generate hypotheses as to the spread of infection through the hospital. In addition, DNA sequencing of severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) nucleic acid extracted from nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab samples was performed and phylogenetic analysis was conducted.
The investigation found that between 9 March and 30 April 2020, there were 119 confirmed cases identified at St. Augustine’s Hospital (39 patients and 80 staff). Fifteen of the 39 patients died (case fatality rate 38.5%). The most plausible explanation for the outbreak is that there was a single introduction of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
The coronavirus spread rapidly through Netcare St. Augustine’s Hospital and beyond and made up 14% of KwaZulu-Natal’s infections by the end of April. The study, seen by Bhekisisa, was conducted by researchers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine and the KwaZulu?Natal Research Innovation & Sequencing Platform, Krisp.
An investigation has found there were 119 confirmed cases of coronavirus at Durban's St Augustine's Hospital by the end of last month. The probe into the Covid-19 outbreak at the hospital was led by a team at University of KwaZuu-Natal.
Durban - The Netcare group has welcomed the findings of a report which investigated the outbreak of Covid-19 at the St Augustine's Hospital. On Wednesday, the investigative report was released and showed that between March 9 and April 30, there were 119 people – among them 39 patients and 80 staff members – who had confirmed cases identified at the hospital. Fifteen of the 39 patients died.
The outbreak of coronavirus disease at the Netcare St. Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, that led to the infection of at least 135 patients and staff in the hospital complex and people in a nursing home, was caused by a single patient admitted to the facility’s emergency department early in March, a new report has found. The virus spread so fast in the hospital that infections caused by the outbreak in the hospital constituted almost 14% of Covid-19 cases in KwaZulu-Natal by the end of April.
The Covid-19 outbreak at St Augustine's Hospital in Durban which forced health authorities to close it down, resulted in 119 people testing positive and 15 patient deaths.
Durban - An investigation into the Covid-19 outbreak at Durban's St. Augustine's Hospital has found the cluster outbreak was as a result of patient to patient transfer after both were admitted to the hospital around the same time.
An investigation has found there were 119 confirmed cases of coronavirus identified at Durban's St Augustine's Hospital by the end of last month. The probe into the COVID-19 outbreak at the hospital was led by a team at UKZN.
A newly released investigation report revealed there were a total of 15 patient deaths and 119 confirmed Coronavirus cases at the Netcare St Augustine Hospital.
The report by a University of KwaZulu-Natal-led research team was made public on Wednesday following an investigation at the facility. A new report shows that 14% of all COVID-19 cases in KwaZulu-Natal can be traced to the coronavirus outbreak at Netcare’s St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban
Clusters of infections contribute to surge in the Western Cape. Contrary to projections, Gauteng has seen slow rise in numbers. By Pauline Bax and Prinesha Naidoo, Bloomberg.
As President Cyril Ramaphosa eases restrictions on one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world, the number of Covid-19 daily infections has continued to rise. Up to 700 people a day tested positive this week.
Professor Tulio de Oliveira is the director of the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) at UKZN. He joins us for another Covid-19 information session.
Nick Hammer chats to Prof Tulio De Oliveira about how the government's interventions, including the travel ban and lockdown, potentially averted the death of at least 20 000 people.
Since Lockdown began on the evening of 26 March 2020, South Africa is yet to see the flattening of the Curve. Professor Tulio de Oliveira has argued that the value of lockdown cannot be underestimated.
As the nation debates about whether lockdown restrictions must be eased, Professor Tulio de Oliveira argues that its value cannot be underestimated.
The coronavirus outbreak in South Africa has hit hardest in the Western Cape, home to the city of Cape Town.
Comparative trajectory analysis from the day of 100th infection shows SA on 11,000 cases, while UK at that point on 161,000
Government interventions, including the travel ban and lockdown, have potentially averted at least 20 000 deaths, says a top scientist
UKZN's Professor Tulio de Oliveira is a bioinformatician from the KwaZulu-Natal’s Research, Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) faculty - and he spoke to us this morning.
KwaZulu Natal’s Research, Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) and the Big Data Flagship Program of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has a multi-disciplinary team of world-renowned experts which mainly focuses on analysis and control of viral outbreaks and genomic analysis.
In our April/May issue of 2020, We have worked very hard to produce and analyse COVID-19 data in real time. We have also sequenced many SARS-CoV-2 genomes in South Africa that showed how the virus was introduced in the country. We also worked with the media to help to translate scientific results to the general public. KRISP believes that open and independent scientific information is represented by good journalism that determines its value to the society it serves.
Cape Town - Confirmed Covid-19 infections in South Africa have risen to 5 951, with 13 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Friday. This is an increase of 304 confirmed cases on Thursday's figures.
The Covid-19 infection rate could jump from 5% to 10% per day as South Africa emerges from a five-week hard lockdown from Friday. Scientists are expecting a "rapid rise" in infections ahead of the disease hitting its peak in summer.
As South Africa edges towards the end of the so-called hard lockdown, and with an expected spike in Covid-19 cases around the corner, just 27 Covid-19 patients are on ventilator support in hospital, seemingly in line with government's projections. Sarah Evans from News24 highlights our Big Data COVID-19 analysis of in South Africa.
Many deaths are still likely to hapen because of the coronavirus, but a promising vaccine against Covid-19, developed by the University of Oxford, started human trials this week. UKZN scientists warn many deaths still likely before virus is conquered
Scientific research on Covid-19 has been published at an unprecedented scale and speed, but some fear that this is at the cost of scientific rigour. Adele Baleta explores the pros and cons of high-speed science. By Adele Baleta for Spotlight, Daily Maverick and News24, 24 April 2020
The use of data science has become a critical 'gold rush' as research scientists across the globe partner on scientific breakthroughs, to better understand the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and recommend strategies to help address its complexities
Durban - A team of world renowned scientists based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has launched a fundraising campaign to support the analysis of Covid-19 data - which could provide vital research and insight on the spread of the virus across both South Africa and globally as the world battles to contain the devastating pandemic.
Scientists at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) have launched a fundraising campaign to finance independent research into the Covid-19 outbreak in South Africa. Donors will qualify for Section 18A tax certificates, issued by the UKZN Foundation.
They have produced five of the six COVID-19 viral genomes in the country, which clearly showed how the virus was introduced into South Africa. KwaZulu Natal’s Research, Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) and the Big Data Flagship Programme of UKZN collaborate in a fund raising campaign.
The countries which have had some of the best responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore and South Korea, have closely followed scientific advice. Our government has already used our results to show that South Africa is flattening the curve. We need your support to ensure that we can keep producing high-level scientific information to guide our national response.
KRISP has partnered with the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Big Data Analysis at UKZN, Prof. Francesco Petruccione to put together a team with more than 20 researchers, including computer scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, bioinformaticians, infectious diseases clinicians, theoretical physicists and quantum computing scientists to analyze the COVID-19 outbreak in South Africa.
Watch the full videos of the Big Data, Genomics and Clinical Medicine presentations of COVID-19 by experts. Full videos of Prof. Salim Abdool Karim, Prof. Tulio de Oliveira and Dr. Richard Lessells in April 2020. Data@breakfast organised by Prof. Francesco Petruccione of UKZN Big Data Flagship program.
The extended five-week national lockdown has postponed South Africa's worst-case Covid-19 scenario to September, a government projection shows. March was arguably the busiest month for President Cyril Ramaphosa in his tenure as head of state. Every other day, the President is putting out fires.
A UKZN seminar series has been moved online in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic. IT was a logical step for UKZN Pro Vice-Chancellor for Big Data and Informatics, Professor Francesco Petruccione, to turn to the online world to continue with his monthly data@breakfast seminar series in a time of national Covid-19 lockdown.
Lessons learned in Eshowe, South Africa, one of the areas worst hit by the HIV pandemic, are being used against coronavirus. Jason Burke in Eshowe writes to The Guardian about KRISP and UKZN work.
Durban - Conflicting information and misinformation about whether to wear a mask or not during the Covid-19 pandemic has left many people confused.The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended people not wear a mask unless they are sick with Covid-19 or caring for someone who has the virus.
Durban - ONLY polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are being used to test for the coronavirus in South Africa, which can detect infection before patients become symptomatic, and not rapid serological tests, which are not recommended by experts for public use.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday night, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said, We will only fight coronavirus with facts and evidence-based strategies, not fake news. Mail and Guardian news, 2 April, 2020.
A young single mother has started her own business making masks, which she distributes in rural areas. Currently there's a huge debate on the subject of a face mask's efficiency, with the World Health Organisation saying there is no evidence to suggest it curbs the spread. However, some experts believe it does indeed work, as studies into other coronaviruses proved masks can reduce the risk.
South Africa stands at a crossroads in the fight against the new coronavirus — and winning the battle will hinge on the decisions we make now about how quickly and how broadly we begin to test for the virus. In a grim news cycle, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize’s announcement yesterday that the country is evaluating rapid tests for the new coronavirus is something to celebrate. Bhekisisa opinion piece by Dr. Richard Lessells and Prof. Mosa Moshabela.
South Africa's strategy to defeat Covid-19 is to lock down the country and scale-up testing to quickly identify people who may have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Health journalism by Adele Baleta for Spotlight 31 March 2020.
Durban - An infectious disease specialist says that although the world is much more prepared to deal with a pandemic than in previous years, African countries are still unable able to respond adequately to a respiratory virus like Covid-19.
Südafrika hat die meisten Corona-Fälle in Afrika. Auch wenn die Zahlen denen in Europa noch hinterherhängen, warnen Experten vor einer rasanten Ausbreitung des Virus. Von Julia Jaki, Kapstadt, 27. März 2020
There is much we do not understand about the virus and how it will affect our bodies, especially after Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said that 60% to 70 % of people could be infected by Covid-19. The Mail & Guardian asked different experts — including disease specialist Dr Richard Lessells, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) — for information about this coronavirus.
Together with the Big Data group of UKZN, we started a daily update of the data on COVID-19 in South Africa and a weekly update on cases, deaths and genomic data in Africa. All of the scripts for generation of the data is deposited open in repositories as all any data developed by our team.
Three thousand people have died in Italy as a result of Covid-19, with more than 35000 infected. Three weeks ago, the country passed the 150 mark for infected people. It took three weeks to get to that number. In South Africa, we passed the 150 mark on Thursday, two weeks after the first local positive test. Mail and Guardian, 19 March 2020.
The University of KwaZulu Natal’s Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) boasts state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and scientific expertise and capacity not commonly found in Africa. This places our multidisciplinary team in the ideal position of being able to play a critical role in supporting the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has placed all current research activities and services on hold to focus full-time on helping with this outbreak. Please help to fund it by donating to our activities here.
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases can run hundreds of tests at the same time but ultimately the number of tests South Africa will be able to carry out for the new coronavirus depends on the machines, people and testing supplies available.
We developed an rapid bioinformatics tool for the identification and characterization of novel coronavirus genomes. The tool was released in January 2020 and published in Bioinformatics in February 2020 as an open access tool to help to characterise genomes of COVID-19 viruses.
In our February/March issue of 2020, we highlight our work on the current coronavirus outbreak. We published a software application for rapid identification and characterization of novel coronavirus genomes. Our quick response was lauded by the national and international media. In this issue, we also cover the award from UKZN vice-chancellor to Dr. Veron Ramsuran, launched a CRISPR-Cas9 laboratory and organized talks, exhibitions and training workshops.
KRISP was in the front and second page of Saturday Independent newspaper, including an article on how a reporter from nature has followed our hard work to produce and release the Genome Detective Coronavirus Tool in January 2020.
As news of the deadly Coronavirus spreads across the globe, a Durban man, teaching English in Hangzhou, describes the eerie streets of a city on lockdown and researchers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) prepare for the potential of a Coronavirus outbreak in Durban.
KRISP Talks by Prof. Tulio de Oliveira (KRISP UKZN & CAPRISA), Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Outbreak: Genomics & Epidemiology. This page summaries resources for coronavirus COVID-19 in KZN and South Africa and internationally. It also present our work on the creation of a genomics and bioinformatics pipeline for fast and accurate analysis of coronavirus genomes. KRISP is bases at K-RITH building, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, UKZN, Durban, South Africa.
Curation and Analysis of Data in Africa by Africans: Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA)
By: San Emmanuel James and Jennifer Giandhari
KRISP has been created by the coordinated effort of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and the South African Medical Research Countil (SAMRC).