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African COVID-19 Preparedness (AFRICO19)

Funder: Wellcome TrustProject code: 220977
Funded under: Vaccines Funder Contribution: 1,497,910 GBP
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African COVID-19 Preparedness (AFRICO19)

Description

Our project, AFRICO19, will enhance capacity to understand SARS-CoV-2/hCoV-19 infection in three regions of Africa and globally. Building on existing infrastructures and collaborations we will create a network to share knowledge on next generation sequencing (NGS), including Oxford Nanopore Technology (MinION), coronavirus biology and COVID-19 disease control. Our consortium links three African sites combined with genomics and informatics support from the University of Glasgow to achieve the following key goals: 1. Support East and West African capacities for rapid diagnosis and sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 to help with contact tracing and quarantine measures. Novel diagnostic tools optimized for this virus will be deployed. An African COVID-19 case definition will be refined using machine learning for identification of SARS-CoV-2 infections. 2. Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 will be performed in one cohort at each African site. This will use established cohorts to ensure that sampling begins quickly. A sampling plan optimized to detect initial moderate and severe cases followed by household contact tracing will be employed to obtain both mild to severe COVID-19 cases. 3. Provide improved understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology/evolution using machine learning and novel bioinformatics analyses. Our results will be shared via a real-time analysis platform using the newly developed CoV-GLUE resource.

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