UNIMAK Scientists Raoul Emeric and Umaru Jah have provided essential genetic sequencing support to allow the characterisation of the recently identified Ebola case in Sierra Leone.
The team of local scientists employed by UNIMAK, have been able to obtain the Ebola virus sequence in less than 48 hours from the time the sample arrived at the recently established UNIMAK Infectious Disease Research Laboratory.
The team of two were trained by scientists from the University of Cambridge to operate the ThermoScientific IonTorrent sequencer and the Ebola virus Ampliseq sequencing workflow.
The infectious disease research laboratory was recently established in collaboration with scientists from the University of Cambridge and supported by funding from the Wellcome Trust, as part of an effort to build capacity in the area of infectious disease research and surveillance.
Professor Ian Goodfellow, one of the international scientists providing support said:
“This is a fantastic achievement. A turnaround of 48 hours is extremely difficult to achieve, anywhere in the world. The ability of local scientists to undertake work of this nature is critical for the prevention and control of any such future outbreaks.”
The genetic sequence obtained has now been provided to international scientists working with the outbreak response and the MOHS to enable potential sources of the new case to be identified. The conclusions of this will be released in due course via official channels.