This work package is designed to enhance local capacity to respond to health emergencies in all 9 African partner countries by supporting the development of field diagnostics, data sharing, and performing real-time genomic analyses. Several TIBA partners (Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Edinburgh) are taking an eHealth approach to improving outbreak surveillance by optimising technologies (e.g. smart phones), surveillance system design and data communication capabilities. Several partners are involved in developing portable diagnostic kits for viral, bacterial or parasite infections employing biomarkers, electrochemical and bio-sensors, or sequencing technologies. Edinburgh has played a leading role in data sharing activities relating to Ebola and avian influenza epidemics, including building global partnerships and setting up generic data sharing platforms and will deploy this expertise in future outbreaks. TIBA also has a substantial bioinformatics capacity (Edinburgh Genomics, Kwazulu-Natal) and phyloanalytics capability, allowing us to generate policy-relevant outputs in real time.
Following a successul Real-Time Virus Genome Sequencing workshop held in Accra, Ghana 11-15 December 2018, we have commissioned 2 projects in Botswana and Rwanda.
1. Botswana - The Use of the MinIon real time genomics sequencer for the epidemiology and investigation of rota virus outbreaks - post vaccine introduction - Botswana Case study. This project is being led by Dr M. Matsheka of the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI).
2. Rwanda - The epidemiology of Measles virus genotypes associated with outbreaks in Rwanda, 2019. This work is led by Ms M. Enatha of the Rwanda medical centre, National `Reference laboratory, Rwanda.
3. Kenya - Characterising the Endemicity and Disease Burden of Chikungunya Virus Infection in Kenya