Press Releases 2022
Can a low-income sub-Saharan country use modern sequencing (NGS) technologies in the diagnostic routine of infectious diseases?
Mozambique, population of around 30 million as of 2022 estimates, is bordered by the Indian Ocean (east), Tanzania (north), Malawi and Zambia (northwest), Zimbabwe (west), and to the southwest Eswatini and South Africa (there is an extensive flow of people between these two countries).
Annually, Mozambique averages more than 116 000 new tuberculosis (TB) cases people and 13,000 TB-related deaths. Drug-resistant Tuberculosis is also a major problem, there was an estimation of 4800 new drug-resistance cases only in 2021 in Mozambique. The high TB prevalence rate puts Mozambique among the 14 countries most affected by TB.
The National Institute of Health (Instituto Nacional de Saúde, INS, Mozambique), in coordination with Research Center Borstel through the Global Health Protection Program (GHPP) and the National Tuberculosis Control Program (Mozambique), held a meeting to present the results of the joint project SeqMDRTB-Net aimed to implement modern Next-generation Sequencing (NGS) as an additional diagnostic tool for drug-resistant tuberculosis.
SeqMDRTB-Net purpose is to develop local capacity to sequence the genetic code of the TB strains circulating in the country, using state-of-the-art technology that was (introduced to INS collaborators. Once the sequencing capacity is implemented, this technology can be used to better understand the phylogenetic evolution of the variants that cause tuberculosis in Mozambique and their association with patterns of resistance to the drugs that are used in the treatment of this disease, in order to propose new and improved treatments for the local population, as well as strategies to control the disease in-country.
The meeting was attended by INS managers and researchers, managers of the National Tuberculosis Control Program, cooperation partners, representatives of the Borstel Research Center and a representative of the Swaziland Ministry of Health.