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COVID-19: Meet Ghanaian Scientist Professor Awandare helping us understand the virus

One of the leading Ghanaian scientists helping us understand the novel coronavirus disease is Professor Gordon Akanzuwine Awandare of the School of Biochemistry and the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) at the University of Ghana.

He, together with other leading scientists at the University of Ghana, has successfully sequenced the genome of the novel coronavirus disease by examining some 15 confirmed cases of the disease in the country.

Prof Awandare has been a leading light in research on many diseases in the country, especially the malaria parasite.

Born in Kandiga in the Kassena Nankana West District of the Upper East Region, Prof Awandare battled with recurring malaria as a child.

Defying all odds to have a good education, he obtained an a Bsc in Biochemistry from the University of Ghana in 1998 and an MSc in the same field in 2002 before obtaining his PhD in the area in 2007 from the University of Pittsburgh in the United States of America. His area of interest was the malaria parasite, inspired partly by his battle with the disease as a child.

Driven by patriotism, he returned to Ghana after spending three years in America contributing to knowledge there.

Prof Awandare took extraordinary steps to set up his own research group notwithstanding the lack of funds and other bottlenecks.

His major breakthrough came in 2013 when he led a consortium that secured funds to set up a new state of the art centre in the country to research into infectious pathogens. The consortium secured some $8 million from the World Bank, and Prof Awandare became the founding director of the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) in 2013.

The Centre cutting edge research has ensured that it has secured several other funding to undertake research into many diseases.

He has received many awards for his excellence on research.


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