Genomic-informed pathogen surveillance in Africa: opportunities and challenges
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to incorporate pathogen genomics for enhanced disease surveillance and outbreak management in Africa. The genomics of SARS-CoV-2 has been instrumental to the timely development of diagnostics and vaccines and in elucidating transmission dynamics. Global disease control programmes, including those for tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, foodborne pathogens, and antimicrobial resistance, also recommend genomics-based surveillance as an integral strategy towards control and elimination of these diseases. Despite the potential benefits, capacity remains low for many public health programmes in Africa. The COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to reassess and strengthen surveillance systems and potentially integrate emerging technologies for preparedness of future epidemics and control of endemic diseases.
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