Viral diseases are a major public health burden across the world. In Africa, HIV, Ebola, Rabies, Zika and Rift Valley Fever are just some of the viral diseases that cause numerous deaths every year. Apart from health risks, emerging viral infections and outbreaks also pose an economic burden. Recent emergence of African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) infection in Europe and Asia has huge economical implication on the world pig industry. However, ASFV is one of the animal viruses Africa has been battling for decades.
Advances in research technologies are enabling access to improved detection, surveillance and management of viral diseases. In recent years, next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have played an important role in the identification and classification of viruses, in the detection of drug resistance mutations and in the treatment and surveillance of viral diseases. Early identification of a virus and rapid analysis of its genome will aid towards better treatment and help in controlling the disease spread. Along with the rapid advances in the sequencing technologies, it is necessary to develop data management methods, computational analysis tools and human expertise to cope with the sequence deluge. The number of researchers able to interpret viral high throughput sequence data is currently limited, particularly in African countries.
The Viral Genomics and Bioinformatics course will provide participants with a working knowledge of viral genome sequence analysis and interpretation of genomics data generated from high-throughput sequencing. Topics will include the use of the command line to perform analysis of viral NGS data, quality control of sequences, reference and de-novo assemblies, pathogen detection from metagenomics data, annotation transfer from a reference genome and building phylogenetic trees. Participants, along with gaining bioinformatics knowledge, will have an opportunity to establish links and networks and develop future collaborative projects.
Target audience The course is free to attend and open to applicants based in Africa engaged in relevant research/clinical activities The programme is aimed at researchers at various levels including Senior Research Assistants, PhD students, Postdoctoral Researchers, Laboratory Scientists and Clinical Scientists/Healthcare Professionals.