The West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation ($799,626.74) in April 2021 for a COVID-19 surveillance project titled “Tracking COVID-19 infection in West Africa to guide public health interventions.” This is a multi-country project in collaboration with four partner institutions in Nigeria and Burkina Faso. Three ACE/WANIDA partners are involved in this collaboration.
Two of the ACEs are in Nigeria: the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at Redeemer’s University, Ede and the African Centre for Excellence in Population Health and Policy (ACEPHAP) in Bayero University, Kano, and one in Burkina Faso, the Centre d’Excellence Africain en Innovations Biotechnologiques pour l’Élimination des Maladies à Transmission Vectorielle (ITECH-MTV) in Bobo-Dioulasso. A non-ACE collaborator is also involved; the Groupe de Recherche-Action en Santé (GRAS) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The Sequencing portion of the Rockefeller project allocated to the four ACEs (including WACCBIP) will provide bridging support (€100,000) for the collaborative WANIDA project : “Molecular Epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in West African Countries”. WANIDA will provide the remaining €150,000 for the remaining three centres; African Centre of Excellence for Mycotoxin and Food Safety (ACEMFS), Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria; African Centre of Excellence for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biology (ACENTDFB), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria; Centre d’Excellence Africain-Prévention et Contrôle des Maladies Transmissibles (CEA-PCMT), Université Gamal Abdel Nasser, Conakry, Guinea.
WACCBIP is coordinating the project and has shared the protocols for ethical approval with all partners. Also, WACCBIP and ACEPHAP have obtained ethical approval for the study. ACEGID, ITECH-MTV and GRAS have applied for ethical consideration and are awaiting approval to commence the project.
WACCBIP and ACEGID will do the sequencing.
WACCBIP will perform 900 NGS for Ghana and 400 each for ITECH-MTV and GRAS, and about 100 NGS from ACEPHAP (mainly for quality checks).
ACEGID will be sequencing 400 samples from their sites and 300 samples from ACEPHAP.
WACCBIP, in collaboration with the University of Ghana Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID), have initiated due diligence checks for all partners in preparation for signing the memorandum of understanding (MOU). Feedback has been received from two (2) centres. WACCBIP has also shared Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) and Data Transfer Agreement (DTA) with all sites and has received feedback from two (2) centres.
- Ten thousand (10,000) antibody kits have been procured for the seroprevalence survey in Ghana and will likely be shared with the sites in Burkina Faso. Two thousand five hundred (2,500) antibody kits have been deployed in Ghana to gain the seroprevalence estimate for June 2021, and this will be repeated bi-monthly, i.e., August, October, and December. This survey is carried out in partnership with the Christian Hospital Association of Ghana (CHAG).
- Almost three hundred (300) NGS have already been performed by WACCBIP for COVID-19 samples from Ghana from February 2021 to April 2021, and data analysis is ongoing. Also, in WACCBIP, about one hundred (100) sequencing is ongoing for COVID-19 samples in Ghana for May 2021.
- Virtual meetings are held every fortnight with project partners and once a month with the Rockefeller Foundation to give updates on the project and strategize on how to meet the project timelines. Enquiries are also being made for procurement of the Abbott kits for the seroprevalence study in Nigeria. WACCBIP is also discussing the modalities to receive archived samples from ACEPHAP for NGS analyses.