Scientists at the University of Ghana have successfully sequenced genomes of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic, obtaining important information about the genetic composition of viral strains in 15 of the confirmed cases in Ghana.
The scientists, who work at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR – College of Health Sciences) and the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP – College of Basic and Applied Sciences) at the University, analyzed samples from selected cases to gain a comprehensive understanding of the variations of the virus that are present in the country.
Dr. Gordon Akanzuwini Awandare is a parasitologist and a professor at the University of Ghana. He is also the director at the West African Center for cell biology of infectious pathogens(WACCBIP). A key member who led to this milestone discovery.
Ghanaians and for that matter, the Upper East region are celebrating one of their own.
Gordon Awandare was born in Kandiga, a small village in the Kasena Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, Ghana. During childhood, he contracted malaria several times a year, at a time when treatment for the disease was scarce.
Awandare was awarded a BSc in Biochemistry in 1998 and an MPhil in Biochemistry in 2002 from the University of Ghana. In 2003, he was alerted to Ph.D. positions at the University of Pittsburgh .
(Pennsylvania, USA) earmarked for African fellows, and moved to the USA just eight months later. In 2007, he graduated with a PhD in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology from the School of Public Health, with a thesis on severe malarial anemia. . Following his doctoral studies, he spent three years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Maryland, USA), where he continued studying malaria, focusing on the Plasmodium falciparum parasite.
He returned to the University of Ghana in 2010 to establish his own research group. Without start-up funding, he used the US credit cards to support his work whilst applying for grants, and two years later received funding from both the Royal Society and the National Institute of Health.
He will go down in history as a result of this achievement and celebrated as a true man of the land.