The World Health Organisation, WHO, has approved three African centres for disease control as specialized continental reference sequencing research laboratories for emerging pathogens.
WHO in conjunction with the African Centre for Disease Control (ACDC) have selected Redeemer’s University African Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), Nigeria; South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI) and Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) in South Africa.
According to the World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the centres have been given the mandate to lead Africa sequencing efforts for COVID-19 viruses and other emerging pathogens; serve as continental reference centres for research, innovation and training in infectious disease and bioinformatics.
The WHO said the centres are also mandated to develop and validate test kits; support lab accreditation and quality assurance process.
Dr. Moeti explained that the three specialized regional reference centres will be providing services to countries without sequencing capacity in Africa.
She further stated that the global multilateral health regulatory body has requested for permission from both Nigerian and South African Health Ministries to allow shipping of COVID-19 samples from all African countries to the designated specialized regional reference sequencing laboratories in their respective countries.
She assured the two national health ministries of both the support of WHO and ACDC in providing logistics towards sequencing of COVID-19 and other emerging pathogens’ samples.