As the search for solutions to COVID-19 continue, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and African Centre for Disease Control (ACDC) have selected Redeemer’s University African Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), South Africa’s National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI), and Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) as specialised continental reference sequencing research laboratories for emerging pathogens.
According to WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the centres have been given the mandate to lead Africa sequencing efforts for COVID-19 viruses, as well as continental reference centres for research, innovation and training in infectious disease and bioinformatics.
The centres are also mandated to develop and validate test kits; support lab accreditation and quality assurance process.
Dr. Moeti explained that the three specialised centers would be providing services to countries without sequencing capacity in Africa.
She further stated that the global health regulatory body has requested for permission from both Nigerian and South African government to allow shipping of COVID-19 samples from all African countries to the designated specialised 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.
While responding to the development, Redeemers University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Anthony Akinlo commended the research team for their resilience, bravery and commitment to excellence towards delivery of cutting-edge science, which has made the centre a reference point not only in Africa but among its peers globally.
Prof Akinlo stated that despite the massive proliferation of molecular laboratories across African countries, the centre has continued to reinforce its leadership position in the continent.
He charged them to stay focused as a world leading genomic research centre that others will emulate when it comes to cutting-edge science.