Congo's Researchers Apply COVID-19 Genomic Sequencing Skills to Other Diseases

Wahyu Dwi Anggoro - 28 June 2022 12:53 WIB
Congos Researchers Apply COVID-19 Genomic Sequencing Skills to Other Diseases
The FCRM quadrupled its daily sequencing capacity between 2020 and 2022. (Photo:
Brazzaville: Two years after the start of the pandemic, the Republic of Congo has begun to apply the genomic sequencing capacities developed in the fight against COVID-19 to other pathogens, including those responsible for malaria, tuberculosis or diarrhoeal diseases in young children.

"Thanks to genomic sequencing, the authorities are informed almost immediately of the circulation of variants of COVID-19 in the country," explains Professor Francine Ntoumi, president of the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research (FCRM), in a press release on Monday.
"Now we want to use these sequencing capabilities to monitor other pathologies," Ntoumi added.

FCRM has already established a sequencing protocol to describe the genes in staphylococcus responsible for the bacteria's resistance to antibiotics, which will make it possible to better treat patients.

"We should have a sufficiently significant sampling by the end of the year,” enthuses Dr Armel Btachi Boyou, a researcher at FCRM and at the Albert Leyono municipal clinic, the centre specializing in the management of serious COVID-19 cases in Brazzaville. 

"We will then be able to adapt the treatments in order to circumvent this resistance," Boyou added.

A similar approach will be applied to a battery of parasites responsible for widespread diseases in Congo.

As the only organization with sequencing capabilities in the Republic of Congo, the FCRM quadrupled its daily sequencing capacity between 2020 and 2022, from 24 to 96 genomic sequences per day.

The FCRM is also implementing a project, supported by World Health Organization (WHO), to strengthen national capacities around clinical trials, with the aim of preparing the ground to introduce new treatments against COVID -19. 

"Strengthening genomic sequencing capacities contributes to the empowerment of the country, in terms of disease surveillance and patient care – and therefore to the fight against epidemics," says Dr Lucien Manga, WHO Representative in Congo.


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