$100M genomic sequencing initiative launches in Africa

Bioinformatics Diseases

GABORONE, Botswana — A $100 million initiative launched this week that aims to expand next-generation genomic sequencing tools and expertise across the African continent, which experts say could be used to tackle disease outbreaks more effectively.

It comes amid concern that insufficient sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in Africa could mean tools developed to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 are less effective there.

Partners in the four-year Africa Pathogen Genomics Initiative include the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are contributing both finance and technical assistance.

Meanwhile, private sector partners Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Technologies will provide in-kind contributions toward the next-generation sequencing machines, as well as training. Microsoft will provide technical assistance and resources to support the design and build of Africa PGI’s digital architecture.

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