The Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has handed over two genome sequencing equipment to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) to enhance its research in the public health sector.
The handing over ceremony was held on April 6, 2022, at the Noguchi and was well patronized by key stakeholders from Africa CDC as well as the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM).
The donation is part of efforts to ensure that NMIMR utilises best practices to become Africa CDC’s sequencing hub responsible for Ghana, Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The equipment will aid the Noguchi to research more into variants of diseases like tuberculosis and just not COVID-19.
“This is the equipment we are going to be using for all our TB isolates, and currently we are working on the ones that are resistant. What are the genomic mutations leading to drug resistance? When we understand such information, what it allows us to do is to contribute to the development of rapid diagnostics that are DNA based that could quickly determine the mutations that lead to drug resistance,” Prof. Dorothy Yeboah Manu stated.
“Our first mandate is to conduct research into diseases of public health importance to Ghana, the West Africa sub-region and African continent as a whole. And this requires a very important understanding of the pathogen biology genomics, evolution and emergence for variants. These are very crucial, in that it allows for determination and also design of interventions which are accurate and precise.
“Thus, with this information we will be able to design the needed rapid diagnostics and reserve needed vaccines as well as medicines for the control of not only infectious diseases but also for non-communicable diseases,” Ms. Yeboah-Manu emphasised.
The programme lead for pathogen genomics, Dr. Sofonias Tessema highlighted that the new equipment will help Noguchi build its capacity as a research institute and will be used to the benefit of the sub-region and Africa as a whole.
“The Africa CDC established a continental programme to strengthen laboratories and to support sequencing. This support to Noguchi is part of a bigger plan we have, what we call The African Pathogen Genomics Initiative,” he said.
“The vision is to strengthen laboratories to do sequencing locally and with that approach, the for Noguchi is not only strengthening the capacity in Ghana it enabled the Ghana Health Service to be able to identify variants and monitor the circulation of variants and understand how the viruses evolve in Ghana.
“Noguchi has been the centre for a response for countries in the region including Togo, Liberia, Benin and Sierra Leone and so this support is not only for Ghana it’s for the region and in the bigger picture for the continent,” he concluded.
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has become a leading force in the research of the disease, boasting of state-of-the-art equipment for various diagnostics.