With funds from World Bank, about fifteen health educational scientists from Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and the United States of America on Tuesday 13th May 2014 concluded the first inaugural meeting at the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at the Redeemer’s University, Ogun State Nigeria. ACEGID intends to create a lasting scientific capacity in genomics through complementary research and education-based goals related to the detection and control of infectious diseases including Ebola, Laser Fever and other unknown Hemorrhagic fevers in Sierra Leone and other African Countries. The group intends to establish an intensive partnership between researches from various countries and try to eradicate the Hemorrhagic fevers.
Speaking to our reporter in an exclusive interview, one of the participants of the inaugural meeting, Professor Sahr M. Gevao said the mandate of ACEGID is to study and understand pathogens/viruses that cause Fevers of unknown Origin including Ebola, Laser, and others viral Hemorrhagic fevers. According to Professor Gevao, the project seeks to employ new sequencing technologies and researches that will discover many unknown pathogens, develop new tools that will conduct rapid kit test on the field.
Professor Gevao disclosed, in Sierra Leone, the eight million dollars project is going to be led by the Laser Department of the Kenema Government Hospital and the University of Sierra Leone under the College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences. He informed that the college will conduct short term courses, Master programme and Ph.D. The Laser Department in Kenema he said will carry out the researches. He informed that, under the same project, twenty medical scientists will attend training at Harvard University and Tulane University, starting from this year to 2018. Professor Gevao disclosed that the lead consultants of this project are Professor Bob Garry of Tulane University and Professor Christian Happi of the Redeemer’s University. According to him, since the outbreak of Ebola in the Sub Region the attention of these consultants have been drawn to intensifying researches that will mitigate or reduce the menace.
Speaking through a telephone interview, the focal Medical Doctor for Hemorrhagic Fever at the Laser Department Kenema Government Hospital, Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan said his department is the only clinical entity that conduct test for all Hemorrhagic Fever including Laser and Ebola disease in sub Saharan Africa adding that ten year ago, all tests of this nature were conducted in Germany. He went on; the Hemorrhagic fever diseases include Laser and Ebola can create a security threat. He informed that Laser Fever for example can be used for biological warfare. He said a research held by scientists recently disclosed that Ebola disease is more epidemic and has been in Guinea before, not imported from Congo as was earlier speculated. He pointed out that, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal and other sub African Countries should now be very alert for any outbreak of Ebola. He maintained that the project was very essential as it will develop a critical mass of well-trained African genomics scientists, empower researchers to utilize genomics-based tools that will eradicate infectious diseases as well as engaging communities in public health education and prevention.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.