Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has commended Ghanaian scientists and two research institutions in the country for obtaining data from viral strains of COVID-19 that will help develop vaccine to contain the spread of the respiratory disease.
Two weeks ago, scientists at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), both at the University of Ghana, Legon, announced that they had obtained data from viral strains in 15 of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the country.
It said the discovery would go a long way to help make headway in understanding the COVID-19 variations present in the country, and increase the chances of developing a vaccine to contain the virus.
In a Facebook post, Vice President Bawumia expressed his delight over the new development, saying; “This is a major contribution to science in the fight against COVID-19 and something for which all Ghanaians should be proud of.
“We have the capability and our research institutions do make significant contributions to science. We can do it if we put our minds to it!
“I am proud of our scientists!”Dr Bawumia said in the post.
According to the Director of the NMIMR, Professor Abraham Anang, the successful establishment of the sequencing capability, would strengthen surveillance for tracking mutations of the Coronavirus and aid in tracing the sources of community infections in people with no known contact with confirmed cases.
“The data tells us that, while there were some differences between the strains from the various countries, all the 15 genomes generally resembled (with over 92% similarity) the reference strain that was isolated in the Wuhan Province of China, where the outbreak began,” part of a statement attributed to Prof.Anang reads.
“It is natural that pathogens will evolve as they encounter different environmental challenges, so we will need to continue monitoring to keep track with these changes and determine how they impact on the efficacy of potential drugs or vaccines that are being developed,” he said.
Ghana’s confirmed cases for COVID-19 stands at 408 infections as at April 11, with eight deaths and four fully recovered.