ASLM And Illumina Sign MOU To Increase Access To Genomics To Fight Infectious Diseases In Africa

Empowering local training in genomics and expanding access to sequencing technology

The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) and Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), a global leader in sequencing technology, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the ongoing 6th Biennial ASLM2023 conference in Cape Town, South Africa. This exciting new initiative is designed to expand the use of genomics in Africa to prepare for future pandemics and safeguard the health of Africans.

To fortify Africa’s resilience against future pandemics, this collaborative initiative aims to harness the power of genomics to enhance disease surveillance, outbreak response, and public health interventions across the continent.

Additionally, the initiative is expected to boost local training in genomics and increase access to sequencing technology through a specialized genomics curriculum provided via ASLM’s training platform, the ASLM Academy. Furthermore, ASLM will become part of the Illumina Global Health Access Initiative, extending access to pathogen genomic sequencing for public health in low and middle-income countries.

“Creating opportunities for genomics training within Africa is vital for building local capacities. Genomic sequencing is crucial for identifying and managing pathogens, and through this collaboration with Illumina, we aim to empower a skilled workforce that can conduct genomic sequencing domestically,” said Mr. Nqobile Ndlovu, CEO of ASLM.

Illumina’s recently launched Global Health Access Program will play a pivotal role in this initiative. By offering reduced pricing for eligible sequencing products. This program, developed with guidance from customers, funders, and market facilitators including the nonprofit FIND, will provide reduced pricing structures for eligible sequencing products from Illumina to qualified global health funding entities and address key international logistics and supply chain challenges.

Tom Berkovits, Senior Director Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (AMEA) Illumina, highlighted, “Genomic sequencing significantly contributes to detecting and responding to infectious disease outbreaks. The Global Health Access Program, with ASLM’s valuable participation, addresses challenges such as delayed response times and increased costs associated with shipping samples offshore.”

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