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Front Genet. 2018 Nov 27;9:575. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00575. eCollection 2018.

Highlights on the Application of Genomics and Bioinformatics in the Fight Against Infectious Diseases: Challenges and Opportunities in Africa.

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West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana.
Vaccine and Immunity Theme, MRC Unit The Gambia at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Banjul, Gambia.


Genomics and bioinformatics are increasingly contributing to our understanding of infectious diseases caused by bacterial pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and parasites such as Plasmodium falciparum. This ranges from investigations of disease outbreaks and pathogenesis, host and pathogen genomic variation, and host immune evasion mechanisms to identification of potential diagnostic markers and vaccine targets. High throughput genomics data generated from pathogens and animal models can be combined with host genomics and patients' health records to give advice on treatment options as well as potential drug and vaccine interactions. However, despite accounting for the highest burden of infectious diseases, Africa has the lowest research output on infectious disease genomics. Here we review the contributions of genomics and bioinformatics to the management of infectious diseases of serious public health concern in Africa including tuberculosis (TB), dengue fever, malaria and filariasis. Furthermore, we discuss how genomics and bioinformatics can be applied to identify drug and vaccine targets. We conclude by identifying challenges to genomics research in Africa and highlighting how these can be overcome where possible.


antimicrobial resistant; bioinformatics; diagnosis; genomics; infectious diseases

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