allAfrica.com allafrica.com 29 Jan, 2021 11:00 am

Zimbabwe: Zim, UK Scientists in Covid-19 Collaboration

Senior Reporter

In partnership with the UK's Quadram Institute, the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NMRL) Zimbabwe has successfully sequenced genomes to help develop what could be called a "family tree," or phylogenetic analysis, for the virus in the country.In a statement, Quadram Institute said: "Today's announcement by Health Secretary Matt Hancock of UK support with genomics expertise to help other countries identify new Covid-19 variants, comes as researchers at the Quadram Institute outline their work supporting scientists in Zimbabwe.According to Quadram Institute, the genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 was key in helping Zimbabwe understand and track the virus as it evolved, identify where the virus was coming from, how it was spreading, and inform public health control measures needed to limit its spread.The Quadram Institute on the Norwich Research Park, UK, as part of the Covid-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium, was also undertaking genomic sequencing for the UK government.

According Quadram Institute report, given the long-standing relationship and partnership between Zimbabwe and the UK in terms of academic and scientific research, the Quadram Institute was ideally placed to help provide the much-needed support and expertise to NMRL in Zimbabwe where necessary.The Quadram Institute's Professor Rob Kingsley said: "We were already working with scientists at NMRL to study typhoid fever in Zimbabwe and we used this close working relationship to rapidly pivot in response to the Covid-19 emergency.

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