Africa CDC announces $100 million Pathogen Genomics Initiative

Africa CDC announces $100 million Pathogen Genomics Initiative

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has announced a $100 million public-private partnership in support of efforts to boost disease surveillance and emergency response capacity across the continent.

With the aim of integrating pathogen genomics and bioinformatics into public health surveillance, outbreak investigations, and improved disease control and prevention, the Africa Pathogen Genomics Initiative (Africa PGI) will work to identify and inform research and public health responses not only to COVID-19 and other epidemic threats but to endemic diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, and other infectious diseases. 

Launched as part of Africa CDC's Institute of Pathogen Genomics, the four-year partnership is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will provide funding and technical assistance; Microsoft, which will contribute technical assistance and resources in support of the design and building of the initiative's digital architecture; and Illumina and Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which will provide in-kind contributions in the form of next-generation sequencing machines and the training to integrate them into an integrated platform.

Africa PGI also will provide national public health institutes with training and tools that advance the effective use of pathogen genomics for public health decision-making and offer researchers opportunities to participate in international collaborations in infectious disease genomics.

"Expanding access to pathogen sequencing in Africa will accelerate efforts to detect new epidemics before they spread widely and to monitor their transmission in real time for more targeted and precise response. Pathogen sequencing will also contribute to research and development efforts for new vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for current and emerging infectious diseases," said Trevor Mundel, president of global health at the Gates Foundation. "It's critical to empower scientists with the tools they need to stay one step ahead of pathogens."

(Photo credit: Africa CDC)