• H3Africa: Current perspectives

      Mulder, N.; Abimiku, A.; Adebamowo, S.N. (Dove Medical Press Ltd, 2018)
      Precision medicine is being enabled in high-income countries by the growing availability of health data, increasing knowledge of the genetic determinants of disease and variation in response to treatment (pharmacogenomics), and the decreasing costs of data generation, which promote routine application of genomic technologies in the health sector. However, there is uncertainty about the feasibility of applying precision medicine approaches in low-and middle-income countries, due to the lack of population-specific knowledge, skills, and resources. The Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative was established to drive new research into the genetic and environmental basis for human diseases of relevance to Africans as well as to build capacity for genomic research on the continent. Precision medicine requires this capacity, in addition to reference data on local populations, and skills to analyze and interpret genomic data from the bedside. The H3Africa consortium is collectively processing samples and data for over 70,000 participants across the continent, accompanied in most cases by rich clinical information on a variety of non-communicable and infectious diseases. These projects are increasingly providing novel insights into the genetic basis of diseases in indigenous populations, insights that have the potential to drive the development of new diagnostics and treatments. The consortium has also invested significant resources into establishing high-quality biorepositories in Africa, a bioinformatic network, and a strong training program that has developed skills in genomic data analysis and interpretation among bioinformaticians, wet-lab researchers, and health-care professionals. Here, we describe the current perspectives of the H3Africa consortium and how it can contribute to making precision medicine in Africa a reality. Copyright 2018 Mulder et al.
    • Implementation of genomics research in Africa: challenges and recommendations

      Adebamowo, S.N.; Francis, V.; Tambo, E. (Taylor and Francis Ltd., 2018)
      Background: There is exponential growth in the interest and implementation of genomics research in Africa. This growth has been facilitated by the Human Hereditary and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative, which aims to promote a contemporary research approach to the study of genomics and environmental determinants of common diseases in African populations. Objective: The purpose of this article is to describe important challenges affecting genomics research implementation in Africa. Methods: The observations, challenges and recommendations presented in this article were obtained through discussions by African scientists at teleconferences and face-to-face meetings, seminars at consortium conferences and in-depth individual discussions. Results: Challenges affecting genomics research implementation in Africa, which are related to limited resources include ill-equipped facilities, poor accessibility to research centers, lack of expertise and an enabling environment for research activities in local hospitals. Challenges related to the research study include delayed funding, extensive procedures and interventions requiring multiple visits, delays setting up research teams and insufficient staff training, language barriers and an underappreciation of cultural norms. While many African countries are struggling to initiate genomics projects, others have set up genomics research facilities that meet international standards. Conclusions: The lessons learned in implementing successful genomics projects in Africa are recommended as strategies to overcome these challenges. These recommendations may guide the development and application of new research programs in low-resource settings. Copyright 2018, Copyright 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.