University of the Free State | UFS | Universities | Next Generation Sequencing Unit

UFS-NGS Unit strategically positioned for WHO Global Rotavirus and Paediatric Diarrhoea Genomics Surveillance.

Prof. Martin Nyaga (UFS-NGS Unit) spoke at the Global Rotavirus (GRSN) and Pediatric Diarrhea (GPDS) and Invasive Bacterial Vaccine Preventable Disease (IB-VPD) surveillance meeting held from 11 – 14 December 2023 in the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) in Manila, Philippines. The surveillance objectives of the GRSN and GPDS are to generate data to advocate for vaccine introduction, evaluate vaccine effectiveness and impact and monitor the changes in vaccine product and schedule.

This global network builds upon the established GRSN sentinel-site surveillance and regional reference laboratory system to identify the causes of hospitalized diarrhea in a representative set of low- and middle-income countries, using a standardized protocol for qPCR testing for a broad panel of diarrhea etiology.

Prof. Nyaga spoke on how these identified diarrhoea pathogens can be further analysed using next generation sequencing to expand on the screening to pathogen genome analysis. He elaborated on the ongoing work at the UFS-NGS unit, as a WHO CC for VPD surveillance and Pathogen Genomics for the WHO/AFRO region, on enteric virome as a model that the GRSN and GPDS can expand in the future.