Press Releases 2024

First in-person meeting of the Pan-Africa Network for Genomic Surveillance of Poverty Related Disease and Emerging Pathogens (PANGenS) held

The Pan-Africa Network for Genomic Surveillance of Poverty Related Disease and Emerging Pathogens (PANGenS) project which officially began in July 2023, has held its first in-person meeting at the Noguchi Memorial institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana.

The meeting, held on 16th January, 2024 brought together a consortia of 15 countries; 12 in Africa and 3 in Europe to discuss ways to use genomic epidemiology of tuberculosis, malaria and emerging and re-emerging pathogens in Africa to better understand disease etiology, dynamics of disease transmission, and evolution of drug-resistant pathogens.

The opening ceremony of the meeting was attended by high level officials of the University of Ghana including the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Development, Professor Felix Ankomah Asante, who also chaired the ceremony. Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Research Center Borstel (FZB) in Germany will co-lead the project with Professor Dorothy Yeboah-Manu and Professor Stefan Niemann as the team leads. Officials from the World Health Organization, Africa CDC, National Malaria Elimination Programme and the National TB Control Programme also attended the opening ceremony.

The capacity building strategy of the four-year project will include engagement of Post-docs, conducting of on-site workshops and development of free virtual training materials.

The study will also increase Africa's capacity in bioinformatics, genomics, genomics data management, biobanking, and promote data sharing. The goal is to improve the health of Africans with innovations in disease surveillance, equip the next generation of African scientists with cutting edge skills and strengthening south-south and south-north research collaborations.

The collaborating partners are:

  • KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation (KNCV), Netherlands
  • Instituto Nacional de Saúde (INS), Mozambique
  • Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), Tanzania
  • University of Namibia (UNAM), Namibia
  • National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Nigeria
  • Centre de Recherches Médicales de Lambaréné (CERMEL), Gabon
  • Laboratoire des Fièvres Virales Hémorragiques (LFVH)/ Ministère de la Santé du Bénin, Benin
  • London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Medical Research Council Unit, The Gambia (LSHTM-MRCG), The Gambia
  • German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH (DSMZ) Germany
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Switzerland
  • Centre for Tuberculosis and WHO TB Supranational Reference Laboratory/ National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), South-Africa to implement the project activities.
  • Central Public Health Laboratories (CPHL), Sierra Leone
  • Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire-Virologie, Institut National d’Hygiène (INH-Togo), Togo
  • National Public Health Reference Laboratory-National Public Health Institute of Liberia, Charlesville, Margibi County (PHIL), Liberia