A workshop was held in Addis Abeba in July as part of the BIOTECHNET project, focusing on SARS-CoV-2 detection methods and the application of sequencing and associated bioinformatics tools.
Awardees of the ICGEB Meetings and Courses 2023 call, the Ethiopian Bio and Emerging Technology Institute (BETIn) and the Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) have organised an in-person hands-on training workshop in Addis Ababa, on 24-28 July, 2023. The event falls within the “BIOTECHNET – Enhancing biotechnology know-how in the Horn of Africa” initiative, supported by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation aimed at enhancing the scientific competences of researchers and research institutions from Ethiopia and Djibouti in the field of Life Sciences.
This intensive 5-day lab based training workshop, entitled “Hands-on training on multiple SARS-CoV-2 detection methods and further application of sequencing and associated bioinformatics tools” included participants from 12 research and academic institutes in Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti, thus providing a crucial opportunity to scientists in the east African region where there is a limited application of sequencing and genomics both in research and in the healthcare system.
The activities covered in the training include SARS-CoV-2 OMICS, RNA extraction, an introduction to bioinformatics, the use of various advanced equipment, as well as genome assembly and alignment.
Dr. Bitew, main organizer of the course and CRP awardee, is currently working on establishing a national sequencing and diagnostic system in Ethiopia: “Genomics and bioinformatics have a lot of benefits in the health system and other research disciplines. Specifically pathogen genomics which I have interested is very important to identify variants of the circulating pathogens, to identify the immunodominat regions in the genomes of the pathogen for vaccine development, helpful for diagnostic and therapeutic development. It is also useful for disease surveillance and so on. We have a lot of gaps in the infrastructure and human capital in the area of genomics and bioinformatics. To this end, we aim to train the young scientists in the horn of Africa region to uncover the whole potential of the technology. In this regard, we are very greatful to support us to organize the ICGEB Workshop with the support from Biotechnet. The CRP project from ICGEB is also contributed a lot in the realization this training workshop” he says.
Prof. Kassahun Tesfaye, Director General of BETIn and ICGEB Appointed Governor for Ethiopia, adds that “This Lab based practical training equipped young researchers in the region with theoretical and practical knowledge on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and omics of SARS-CoV-2. The training participants have also used the event to network and initiate partnership among regional institutions to jointly address cross-border health challenge in the Horn”.
The BIOTECHNET project is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.