Despite their dramatic consequences, the Ebola epidemics in West and Central Africa have contributed to capacity building in affected countries.
These epidemics, which took place in 2014 in West Africa and from 2018 in Central Africa, were an opportunity to develop and deploy new diagnostic techniques in laboratories in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the support of the TransVIHMI joint research unit.
This enabled to rapidly identify the infectious agent, to trace chains of contamination in real time in order to carry out effective interventions, and to develop a reliable serological tool for differential diagnostics.
Both countries now have fully equipped and functional laboratories, run by high-level Guinean and Congolese specialists with unique experience and knowledge of the field. Specific training courses for health care personnel and students are regularly organized with scientific partners.
This is a valuable asset to oppose to emerging viral diseases. These are a recurring threat to global health security. And Africa is particularly at risk because of the number of infectious agents in circulation – particularly in wildlife – and the social and environmental factors that favour their spread.
A scientific paper (in French) provides a more detailed account.
This article was first published by IRD.