Health Ministry receives Genomic Sequencing Machine from Africa CDC
The Africa Centre for Disease Control this week handed over Genomic Sequencing Machine to the Ministry of Health and Social Services in order to assist the ministry’s efforts in monitoring the COVID-19 virus closely as it spreads and mutations.
The equipment that has been donated includes screens for 4 mutations viz K417T, K147 N, E484K and P681R. This equipment is also used to screen SARS COV-2 positive samples for the presence of the OMICRON variant with >98% confidence. This includes the recently identified BA-1 and BA-2 sublineages.
The equipment will be stationed at the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP) Windhoek Reference Laboratory. This donation comes at a welcome time as NIP is joining the network of many laboratories across the continent in conducting genomic surveillance activities in-house.
“As the Ministry of Health, we are very confident that this equipment can serve as an effective healthcare tool to facilitate the real-time management of Omicron variant’s population spread including supporting the research efforts investigating the potential for immune escape. That confidence is maintained even with the emergence of the BA-1 and BA-2 sub-lineages of Omicron,” said Registrar of Medicine, Johannes ≠Gaeseb.