Revna Biosciences (RB), a new precision medicine company on Friday launched its multifunctional biomedical research facility to advance molecular diagnosis, as first step to precision medicine a reality in Africa.
The facility will analise complex infections, introduce advance molecular profiling technique to the region, and curtail the long wait associated with sending samples to overseas for diagnosis.
Precision medicine or personalised medicine is a cutting-edge innovation in healthcare delivery that facilitates highly accurate detection, prevention, and treatment of diseases by considering an individual’s genetic makeup, lifestyle and environment.
Launching the facility, the Health Minister, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said currently preventive and evidence-based medicine, diagnostics and research played a very crucial role in delivering total quality healthcare services and improving the health outcome of patients.
Mr Agyeman-Manu, whose speech was read on his behalf by Dr Ben AmponsahNkansah, Director of Infrastructure at the Ministry of Health (MOH) stressed that timely detection, diagnosis and prompt initiation of appropriate therapy were key in reducing the burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases among the population.
“This approach is applicable to the detection, prevention, and treatment of endemic ailments affecting Africans such as cancer, malaria, tuberculosis, heart diseases and diabetes, among others.”
Mr Agyeman-Manu said, in the area of cancer for example, most tests that helped to select appropriate and optimal therapy for patients were often sent abroad for analysis with extended turn-around-time and delayed prompt treatment for patients.
The Chief Executive Officer of RB, Dr Derrick Edem Akpalu, allayed fears of possible side effects with that approach of medicine adding that, “this branch of medicineutilises tailored-made approach and its results reduces trial and error and likelihood of side effects with its outcomes.”
He expressed the belief that the facility would strengthen West Africa’s health sector as the world sought solutions against emerging pandemics, stressing that Revna Biosciences sought to collaborate with all stakeholders from across the healthcare sector, focusing initially on oncology and infectious diseases.
“There is the need for local advanced molecular diagnostics services in the country in order to ensure patients receive prompt, high-quality, and value-adding advanced molecular diagnostic tests locally, without the long wait times associated with sending samples overseas for analysis,” he said.
Dr Akpalu noted that the facility would facilitate biosample collection, storage and analysis as a backbone for local and global research into various diseases, adding that they would collaborate closely with public and private health facilities, academia, and other key stakeholders at the forefront of championing precision medicine to boost healthcare delivery in the country.
“During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we all witnessed vaccine hesitancy and vaccine nationalism, these evidence underscores the importance of building local research and diagnostic capacity in the country,” he said.
“Since routine or regular medical screening is not commonly performed by most Ghanaians, most patients present to the hospital at an advanced stage in the course of their disease minimising their window of opportunity and this is where precision medicine becomes very important,” he said.
Reports could be generated relatively quickly, eliminating completely the long waiting time and affording clinicians the opportunity to initiate prompt treatment for better health outcomes of their patients,” he said.
Revna board member and renowned scientist Dr Sylvia Annie, noted that efficient and timely diagnosis relied on collaboration and partnership, saying that provided opportunity to strengthen linkages with key partners, such as MOH, Ghana Health Service, NOGUCHI, Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research, teaching hospitals and private sector.
Several high-profile guests were in attendance including the Chief of NmaiDzorn, Nii Okpelor Sowah Ablorh; The FDA Board Chair, Dr Sammy Ohene; The Former Dean of the University of Ghana Medical School, Prof. Lartey; The Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu; The CEO FOCOS Orthopaedic, Dr Irene Wulff; Prof Wilson of Noguchi; The CEO Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Opoku Ware Ampomah; The Head of Pharmacy of the 37 Military Hospital, Lt Col. Richard Osei-Boateng and the W.O in charge of the Pathology Department of the 37 Military Hospital, W.O I Godwin Dutsyo.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH