Cambridge-Africa

Dr Japheth A. Opintan

Dr Japheth A. Opintan (University of Ghana)

Research title: Origins and Evolution of Epidemic Cholera in Accra

Research project: Many localities within the Greater Accra Region have witnessed several episodes of cholera outbreaks, with high case fatality rates over the last decades. Recent cholera outbreaks in Ghana show no seasonality, and the index case (first case) is usually believed to spread from the Greater Accra Region of Ghana.
The current research proposal seeks to perform whole genome sequencing (WGS) on archived epidemic Vibrio cholerae isolates for the purposes of creating a genetic library for studying the population diversity and evolution of the organism. WGS will offer the opportunity to identify, predict and model preventive measures against future epidemics.
Study goals and objectives
The goal of this study is to decipher the origins and evolution of epidemic cholera, and to develop a database for comparing present and future epidemics.
Specific objectives are to:
1. Revive and characterize representative archived epidemic Vibiro isolates (2003 -2012) with complete demographic information.
2. Perform whole genome sequencing and genomic analysis on characterized Vibrio isolates
3. Generate a genomic database for Ghanaian isolates for comparative analysis for past, present and future epidemics

Study design
Retrospective design. The study population will be archived Vibrio cholerae isolates from the last decade.

Methodology
Archived epidemic Vibrio cholera isolates over the last decade will be analyzed (Kuma et al 2014. IJIC.doi:10.3396, Opintan et al 2008. JAC. 62; 929-933). Isolates on which we have complete information on demographics (person, time and place of collection) will be revived on appropriate bacteriological media and phenotypically characterized. Genomic DNAs will be extracted and whole genome sequencing and analysis done in Ghana and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, respectively.
Conclusion
In addition to the useful data that would be generated on the archived epidemic isolates from Ghana, research collaboration and capacity building will be established for future studies.

Collaborator: Professor Gordon Dougan, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute