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Whole-Genome analysis of African influenza

By Jimmy Siyasa

In collaboration with five research institutions, the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Centre for Computational Biology has concluded and published a most recent Research study entitled; “Whole-genome analysis to determine the rate and patterns of intra-subtype reassortment among influenza type-A viruses in Africa”.

The UCU Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Assoc. Prof John Mulindwa Kitayimbwa, is one of the six scholars who conducted the 2022 study published by Oxford University Press

This study, nested within the Uganda National Influenza Surveillance Programme addresses Genome reassortment -a mechanism in which “epidemiologically novel influenza viruses emerge and a core step in the safe reassortment-incompetent live attenuated influenza vaccine development,” according to the abstract.

Furthermore, the study aimed to “detect intra-subtype reassortment among Africa pandemic H1N1pdm09 (2009-2010), seasonal H1N1pdm09 (2011-2020), and seasonal H3N2 viruses, and characterize the genomic architecture, and temporal and spatial distribution patterns of the resulting reassortants.” Yourgenome defines a genome as an “organism’s complete set of genetic instructions. “ Each genome contains all of the information needed to build that organism and allow it to grow and develop.

Other top biologists involved in the study include; Grace Nabakooza, MSc, Andrzej Pastusiak, MSc, David Patrick Kateete, PhD, Julius Julian Lutwama, Simon David William Frost, DPhil. They represented the following institutions: 

  • Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology, Makerere University
  • Makerere University/ UVRI Centre of Excellence in Infection and Immunity Research and Training (MUII-Plus)
  • Centre for Computational Biology, Uganda Christian University
  • Microsoft Research, Department of Arbovirology Emerging
  • Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases, Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI)
  • London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

The UCU Centre for Computational Biology is an interdisciplinary centre that conducts cutting-edge research in genetics and biology.