ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA, 22 June 2021 – Today, the Africa CDC and ACEGID have started a continent-wide training series on SARS-CoV-2 sequencing. The comprehensive hands-on training aims to strengthen Member States capacity to track the emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. 17 candidates from 12 African Union Member States are currently attending the training at ACEGID, Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria.
As part of its vision to integrate pathogen genomics into the public health surveillance and diseases outbreak response, the Africa CDC through the Africa Pathogen Genomics Initiative (Africa PGI) is collaborating with African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM), WHO Regional Office for Africa, Centers of Excellence in genomics and bioinformatics to train a network of national public health laboratories in the generation and analyses of SARS-COV-2 genomic data. The goal of the training is to build skilled workforce that can provide rapid and representative genomic data to inform the continental COVID-19 pandemic response.
“With the ongoing emergence and spread of variants of concern, we need to increase sequencing capacity and build a critical mass of skilled human resources in the field of pathogen genomics and bioinformatics in Africa. We are pleased to partner with Centers of Excellence to develop and deliver training series to accelerate SARS-CoV-2 sequencing across the continent. The training at ACEGID will enable 12 Member States to expand their sequencing capacity” said Dr. John Nkengasong, the Director of Africa CDC.
“Our partnership with Africa CDC, WHO-AFRO is really remarkable, especially as we are able to bring together trainees from 12 African countries to this event. Bringing together Academic, Public Health Institutions and the private sector, is definitely the beginning of a new public health era in Africa. This training is a true testimonial of the Africa PGI and will increase the human capacity in genomics research in Africa. The training will contribute to increase the number of SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequences in the continent and guide public heath interventions” said Prof. Christian Happi, Founder and Director of ACEGID, Redeemer’s University, Ede, Nigeria.
“Illumina believes strongly in the democratization of sequencing, such that all countries have access to genomics,” says Paula Dowdy, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Illumina. “We are delighted to be supporting this training program with our cutting-edge technology because it will empower individual countries to drive pathogen surveillance according to their own needs.”
“Africa CDC will continue to work closely with the centers of excellence, the private sector, and other implementing partners to expand training on genomics and bioinformatics. The training organized at ACEGID is one step forward in this effort and more trainings will be organized in collaboration with other centers of excellence and regional hubs” said Dr. Yenew Kebede, Head, Division of Laboratory Systems and Networks at Africa CDC.
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About Africa CDC
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), is a specialized technical institution of the African Union that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes. Africa Pathogen Genomics Initiative (Africa PGI) is a partnership launched to expand access to next-generation genomic sequencing tools and expertise designed to strengthen public health surveillance and laboratory networks across Africa. Learn more at: http://www.africacdc.org.
About African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) is a center of excellence for genomics research and training housed at the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria. ACEGID train next generation of experts to build capacity in the field of genomics and to lead efforts in developing diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for infectious diseases. Learn more at: Learn more at: http://www.africacdc.org.