In September of 2008, a young woman living in a suburb of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, was stricken by a mysterious illness driven by an unknown virus. As headache, fever, and body aches gave way to more frightening symptoms including seizures and facial swelling, the woman was admitted to a local hospital before being transferred to a facility in Johannesburg, South Africa, some 740 miles away. Her symptoms did not improve in Johannesburg, and healthcare workers from the two hospitals soon began to suffer the same symptoms, which progressed further to brain swelling and organ failure. By mid-October, the virus — dubbed “Lujo” for the two cities it now affected — had killed four people and left a fifth with severe medical complications. And then, it simply disappeared.
We were thrown a curve ball in 2020, but didn’t let the pandemic stop us from our training activities. We participated in a number of online courses this year – and one particular highlight was virtually traveling to eastern Africa to conduct a course in genomics and bioinformatics. During our week-long course CZ Biohub Rapid Response teamed up with colleagues at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to introduce the use of next-generation sequencing and analytical tools for studying the cause, source, and dynamics of infectious disease, and for utilization in disease outbreak response efforts.
Congratulations to the lab team at the Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) in Dhaka, Bangladesh for receiving their brand new sequencer!
Child Health Research Foundation