Centre wins Academy of Science gold medal prize
The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Disease (ACEGID) has been selected as the winner of the Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) 2021 Gold Medal Prize for Life Sciences.
Announcing the award winner at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Chairman, NAS Science Prize Committee, Dr Sonny Kuku, said the centre was selected out of the 11 shortlisted entries.
“ACEGID has been a pacesetter in the investigation of COVID-19 in Africa and before that, had done excellent work with the diagnosis and tracking of Ebola virus diseases and Lassa fever. The Centre remains at the forefront of training in genomics and development of diagnostics for infectious disease on the continent, he said.
Dr Kuku noted that the Centre had established the most advanced and impactful genomic research centre in Africa.
He disclosed that the Centre performed the first genome sequence of the SARS-CoV2 in Africa at an unprecedented speed and had been using their genomic sequencing platforms to generate data that was guiding response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a unique way.
The chairman added that the lead researcher of the Centre, Dr Onikpe Abiola Folarin would receive the Award from the President of Nigeria Academic of Science, Professor Ekanem Braide during the third Annual NAS Scientific Conference in Abuja on the 26th of January, 2022.
Revealing why the ACEGID deserved the Award, the Chairman of the Jury, NAS Science Prize 2021, Professor Akinyinka Omigbodun said the Centre had achieved immensely even though it was established less than 10 years ago.
Prof. Omigbodun noted that the Centre had been performing wonderfully since 2014, among others, he said, in 2014 the Centre confirmed and sequenced the genomes of the index cases of Ebola virus diseases in Nigeria and Sierra Leone while in 2015, it was the only Nigerian institution involved in the 1000 Genome project which established the global reference for human genetic variations.
Speaking on the objectives of the NAS, the Executive Secretary, Dr Oladoyin Odunbanjo said NAS was established to give science advice to policymakers to ensure Science is evidence in the process of policymaking and not on opinion but depending on the informed position.