Biobanking and sequencing in low- and middle-income countries

Establishing Enhancing and Streamlining Capacity

Limitations in diagnostics and research for COVID-19 exist in many LMICs. This is coupled with limited capacity and infrastructure to biobank samples crucial for diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics research, public health surveillance, including early variant detection and transmission dynamics, and evaluation of the impact of various disease control strategies. Less than 1% of genome sequencing currently exists in LMICs. These observations led the members of the Virology, Immunology, and Diagnostics Working Group to launch the EES Project: Establishing Enhancing and Streamlining Biobanking and Sequencing Capacity in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

Key Words:

Biobanking is the systematic preservation of biological samples for future use.

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) is the comprehensive mapping of an organism’s genetic information.

Project Aim:

To boost scientific response to COVID-19 in LMICs by increasing biobanking and WGS capacity.

Project Objectives:

  1. Enhancing genome sequencing capacity for LMICs biobanking centres.
  2. Establishing and/or enhancing biobanking capacity in LMICs.
  3. Streamlining biobanking and sequencing methodologies in LMICs

How will this be done? 

  • Through building partnerships with key institutions and agencies in the biobanking & genome sequencing space in both low- and high-income countries.
  • Advocating for streamlining of biobanking and data sharing regulatory framework
  • Human resource capacity development through training grants for doctoral and post-doctoral positions for individuals from LMICs.

Output of this project: 

Growth of the biobanking and whole-genome sequencing capacity in participating LMICs, creating an environment for sustainable responsive research & surveillance for COVID-19 and future epidemics.

If you would like to participate or find out more, please send us an email.

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