First, resources are being mobilised to accelerate SARS-CoV-2 sequencing across the continent, leveraging available next-generation sequencing plat- forms within the continent, and resources and technical support is being provided to 16 countries.
Second, a network of sequencing laboratories and genomics and bioinformatics experts is being brought together to share resources, expertise, and data.
Third, protocols are being standardised to ensure generation of representative and reproducible data. Fourth, sample referral approaches are being coordinated, to network countries with limited sequencing capacity with regional laboratories.
As well as ongoing mobilisation of resources to support the COVID-19 outbreak response, it is crucial for Africa to develop sustainable approaches, with a vision to change the siloed pathogen-specific diagnostics methods and implement digital and genomic transformation in the public health system.
In recognition of the revolutionary potential of genomic technology and computational power, African researchers are pioneering novel approaches and alliances to advance public health surveillance systems. In addition, the AfricaCDC, SANBI, KRISP and H3AbioNet, among others, have organised weekly training webinar to capacitate researchers and public health officials in Africa. Webinar every Wednesday 2PM East African Time - to register visit: https://bit.ly/2Okfoqy
News date: 2020-08-25
Accelerating genomics-based surveillance for COVID-19 response in Africa. Tessema SK, Inzaule SC, Christoffels A, Kebede Y, de Oliveira T, Ouma AEO, Happi CT, Nkengasong JN, Lancet Microbe (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016/S2666-5247(20)30117-8:.
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).