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$ 100 Million Initiative Increases Surveillance for African Diseases

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On October 12, in Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya, a boy who arrived at Olympic Elementary School during a partial reopening of school after the government abandoned plans to cancel the school year due to a coronavirus disease outbreak face mask I am wearing. 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

A $ 100 million program was launched on Tuesday with the aim of better controlling the coronavirus and many diseases endemic to Africa.

The African Pathogen Genomics Initiative is led by the African Union Commission and managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). Public, private and non-profit organizations are also involved in this project.

This initiative, including a four-year partnership, extends access to next-generation genome sequencing tools by African authorities and expertise designed to strengthen public health surveillance and laboratory networks across the continent.

The network is expected to help improve research and public health responses to coronavirus and other epidemic threats, as well as endemic diseases such as AIDS.

John Nkengasson, director of the Africa CDC, said strengthening the genome surveillance system is key to early notification and control of disease outbreaks.

“Using advanced technologies such as next-generation sequencing and integrating them into surveillance and emergency response programs, better results, as evidenced by the outbreaks of two Ebola viruses and the current coronavirus epidemic. Easier public health decisions to gain. “

“The African Pathogen Genomics Initiative builds the capacity for Member States to operate a strong surveillance and laboratory network supported by advanced technology to reduce the burden of illness and respond quickly and effectively to outbreaks. Helps to do. “

This initiative is part of the Institute of Pathogen Genomics, launched by the African CDC in 2019. It aims to integrate pathogen genomics and bioinformatics into public health surveillance and outbreak studies to improve disease control and prevention in Africa.

Training program

As part of the training program, the Next Generation Sequencing Academy will be established to provide the National Institute of Public Health with training and tools to guide public health decisions using pathogen genomics.

The academy provides researchers with the opportunity to participate in international cooperation on infectious disease genomics.

“In the last five years, we have seen first-hand how pathogen genomics has helped identify disease outbreaks and guide real-time outbreak responses in countries in West Africa and Central Africa,” said the director of the African Genomics Center. One Christian Happi said. Of infectious diseases.

“Scaled genomics capabilities into existing, but often siled, diagnostic platforms and connecting them to form a pan-African network is an exciting opportunity to take public health surveillance to the next level. Provides. “

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