The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) has received a grant award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the United States for a data science-based research on antimicrobial resistance in bacteria.
The grant is part of NIH’s Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) program. The DS-I Africa aims to advance data science, catalyze innovation and spur health discoveries across Africa over five years. ACEGID, Redeemer’s University, is one of the 19 recipients of the awards.
Titled Combatting AntiMicrobial Resistance in Africa Using Data Science (CAMRA), the project will use advanced data analysis and artificial intelligence to elucidate trends in the spread of antimicrobial resistance (the ability of bacteria to withstand drugs used for treatment), develop portable, rapid diagnostic test for bacterial infection and test a potential drug for multi-drug resistant bacteria.
“This initiative has generated tremendous enthusiasm in all sectors of Africa’s biomedical research community,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Big data and artificial intelligence have the potential to transform the conduct of research across the continent, while investing in research training will help to support Africa’s future data science leaders and ensure sustainable progress in this promising field.”
“We have been studying antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella typhi (that causes typhoid fever), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (that causes tuberculosis) and other bacteria over the years,” said Prof Christian Happi, ACEGID Director and Principal Investigator for CAMRA. “Through CAMRA, we will use data science to determine the extent of antimicrobial resistance in Africa and chart new pathways to develop novel diagnostics for AMR and enhance the use of antibiotics on the continent.”
Through CAMRA, ACEGID will develop capacity by training young African scientists in bacterial genomics and bioinformatics. CAMRA will be implemented in Nigeria and Rwanda, providing data with geographic representation of West and East Africa.
Over the years, ACEGID’s research and partnerships have led to the development of rapid diagnostics kits for Ebola fever, Lassa fever and Covid-19. This robust network of regional and international partners will be leveraged in implementing CAMRA.