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Surveillance for Influenza Viruses

Surveillance for Influenza Viruses

Project Lead(s)
Research Fellow
Project Background 

The Ghana National Influenza Centre (NIC), which is housed in the virology department, collaborates with the Ghana Health Service to conduct virological surveillance for influenza viruses in Ghana. The NIC subsequently generates data on circulating influenza virus strains in Ghana with the Ghana Health Service. Data and samples are shared with the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Influenza Surveillance Response System (GISRS). The NIC also provides technical assistance and capacity building for virological surveillance of influenza in other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The NIC receives and processes respiratory samples from sentinel sites (29 sites, including 11 military sites) in Ghana.

Objectives/Research Areas 

The objectives of the national surveillance system are;

  • to identify locally circulating influenza types and sub-types and their relationship to global and regional patterns
  • detect new influenza strains
  • to provide information on candidate viruses for vaccine selection and production
Ongoing Activities  
  1. Molecular characterization of influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses
  2. Evaluation of diagnostic test-kits and equipment
  3. Collaborating with CDC to strengthen surveillance of influenza and other respiratory viruses in Ghana
  4. Shipment of virus isolates for vaccine selection and production
  5. Training and capacity building for influenza and other respiratory pathogens
  6. Conduct animal sampling, troop education and monitoring and evaluation
Key Publications  
  1. Asante IA, Adusei-Poku M, Bonney HK, Bonney EY, Odoom JK, Obodai E, Aboagye J, Kotey EN, Nyarko S, Boatemaa L, Magnusen V. Molecular diagnosis for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: lessons learned from the Ghana experience. Ghana Medical Journal. 2020 Dec 31;54(4s):77-85
  2. Ngoi JM, Quashie PK, Morang'a CM, Bonney JH, Amuzu DS, Kumordjie S, Asante IA, Bonney EY, Eshun M, Boatemaa L, Magnusen V. Genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 reveals local viral evolution in Ghana. Experimental Biology and Medicine. 2020 Jan 1:1535370220975351.
  3. Parbie PK, Mingle JA, Ntiri M, Adjabeng M, Bonney K, Asante I, Bonney EY, Brightson K, Sarkodie B, Koram K, Ohene SA. Human coronaviruses in persons with acute respiratory infections in Ghana. Health Sciences Investigations (HSI) Journal. 2020 Jul 15;1(1):5-11.
  4. Bonney JH, Asigbee TW, Kotey E, Attiku K, Asiedu-Bekoe F, Mawuli G, Bonney EY, Asante IA, Abana C, Pratt D, Nyarko S. Molecular detection of viral pathogens from suspected viral hemorrhagic fever patients in Ghana. Health Sciences Investigations (HSI) Journal. 2020 Jul 15;1(1):31-5
  5. Kotey E, Lukosaityte D, Quaye O, Ampofo W, Awandare G, Iqbal M. Current and Novel Approaches in Influenza Management. Vaccines (Basel). 2019 Jun 18;7(2):53. doi: 10.3390/vaccines7020053. PMID: 31216759; PMCID: PMC6630949.
  6. Stanelle-Bertram S, Walendy-Gnirß K, Speiseder T, Thiele S, Asante IA, Dreier C, Kouassi NM, Preuß A, Pilnitz-Stolze G, Müller U, Thanisch S. Male offspring born to mildly ZIKV-infected mice are at risk of developing neurocognitive disorders in adulthood. Nature microbiology. 2018 Oct;3(10):1161-74.
  7. Ntiri, M.P., Duque, J., McMorrow, M.L. et al. Incidence of medically attended influenza among residents of Shai-Osudoku and Ningo-Prampram Districts, Ghana, May 2013 – April 2015. BMC Infect Dis 16, 757 (2016).
  8. Asante IA, Bertram S, Awuni J, Commey AN, Aniwa B, Ampofo WK, Gabriel G. Highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus among poultry, Ghana, 2015. Emerging infectious diseases. 2016 Dec;22(12):2209
  9. Jones AH, Ampofo W, Akuffo R, Doman B, Duplessis C, Amankwa JA, Sarpong C, Sagoe K, Agbenohevi P, Puplampu N, Armah G, Koram KA, Nyarko EO, Bel-Nono S, Duegeri EL. Sentinel surveillance for influenza among severe acute respiratory infection and acute febrile illness inpatients at three hospitals in Ghana. Influenza Journal. DOI:10.1111/irv.12397
  10. Agbenohevi PG, Odoom JK, Bel-Nono S, Nyarko EO, Alhassan M, Rodgers D, Danso F, Suu-Ire RD, Bonney JH, Aboagye J, Kronmann KC, Duplessis C, Oyofo BA, Ampofo WK. Biosecurity measures to reduce influenza infections in military barracks in Ghana. BMC Res Notes. 2015;8:14. doi: 10.1186/s13104-014-0956-0.
Community Engagement Activities  
Hajj sampling for Influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2018
Best Practice Exercise with GHS in 2019
Animal Sampling, troop education and monitoring and evaluation with GAF in 2020
Stakeholders meeting with Ghana Armed Forces and US Naval Medical Research Unit (US NAMRU#3, Cairo)
Internal Collaborator(s) 
Animal Experimentation Department (NMIMR)
Parasitology Department (NMIMR)
School of Public Health
External Collaborator(s) 
US Naval Medical Research Unit 3, Cairo (NAMRU-3)
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Ghana Health Service (GHS)
Veterinary Service Directorate (VSD)
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
University of Sheffield
European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials
The University of Sheffield