Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has commended Scientists at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens at the University of Ghana for identifying the virus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The Vice President said this move is a major contribution to science in the fight against COVID-19 adding that the country’s research institutions have the capability to find a solution to the problem. Data about the genetic composition of the COVID-19 strains in Ghana was obtained from viral strains in 15 of the confirmed cases in the country and will help Scientists gain a comprehensive understanding of the variations of the virus that are present in the country.
A statement issued by the University’s Public Affairs Directorate said the feat was attained by Scientists at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens at the University. It said the success achieved is a significant milestone in Ghana’s response to the pandemic, as it will strengthen surveillance.
Using advanced next-generation sequencing methods, scientists are able to track and compare viral mutations to understand the origins of imported strains and to discover if any novel strains are emerging locally. The statement explains that samples analysed were taken from two travelers who arrived in Ghana from the UK, one from Norway, one from Hungary, another from India, and one traveller who arrived from the US through the United Arab Emirates.
Nine samples were taken from individuals who had no travel history, who are believed to have acquired the infection locally. According to the statement, the successful establishment of this sequencing capability at the University of Ghana will strengthen surveillance for tracking mutations of the virus and aid in the tracing of the sources of community infections in people with no known contact with confirmed cases.