Tebogo Msimanga |
The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, announced that the Department of Science and Innovation, will fund the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP) to the tune of R25 million (of the R45 million required) over the next 12 months. This is to complete the sequencing of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) 10,000 genomes in South Africa and Africa.
The funding will be used to understand the spread of COVID-19 and other virus lineages in the continent and to support the clinical and laboratory investigations of the genomic variation in the country.
Minister Nzimande said that these funds will be used to acquire equipment to automate the sequencing system and to buy the reagents and other laboratory consumables.
The Minister further said that a critical next step is to get a better understanding of whether there is any clinical and epidemiological evidence to suggest increased transmissibility and/or pathogenicity of the virus and/or vaccine escape.
Minister Nzimande said KRISP as a platform of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) – an agency of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI)- a flagship programme of the South African Medical Research Council has established a world-class scientific infrastructure.