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Postdocs Raphaëlle Klitting and Edyth Parker were recently welcomed to the Pathogen Genomics Laboratory at the Institut National Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by CViSB collaborator, Dr. Placide Mbala. The purpose of the trip was two-fold; to sequence samples from the North Kivu Ebola outbreak 2018-2020 and to provide sequencing analysis workshops to INRB trainees. 

CViSB is interested in the functional and epidemiological effects of a mutation (GP-V75A) suspected of causing greater infectivity in the most recent DRC Ebola outbreak. Raphaëlle is leading efforts to investigate the emergence of GPV75A and traveled to the DRC to sequence more 2018-2020 North Kivu samples for the mutation and traveled to the DRC to begin sequencing. The sequencing of nearly 200 samples is ongoing with hopes of releasing results by the end of the year. 

Edyth taught a 2-week workshop on the downstream t approaches and tools for sequencing data analyses. The workshop included lectures and tutorials covering genomic epidemiology, methods in phylogenetics, and programming. Edyth was fortunate enough to work hands-on with INRB scientists, with further training and collaboration continuing via Zoom.

The trip would not have been successful without the help of colleagues at the University of North Carolina, who travel frequently to INRB and facilitated Edyth and Raphaelle’s visit. CViSB is looking forward to future collaborations with Dr. Mbala and UNC, as well as a joint publication of Ebola GP-V75A findings.