To collect 10,000,000 samples from across the African continent and create a "one-of-a-kind" African biobank.
Medical research relies heavily on the use of human DNA to test and research the efficacy of new medicines. 99% of this DNA is from white European descendants compared with 17% of the global population of Black people from an African lineage. This means that much of existing medicine doesn’t often work on those African descendants, or worse, causes additional deaths in some cases.
Average life expectancy in Africa is 20 years below that of the UK
Africa currently carries 25% of the global disease burden
Many treatments for infectious diseases in Africans cause Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs)
Hospital admissions due to ADRs are 3x higher in Africa compared to the West
20% of Zimbabweans and 13.5% of people from Botswana were found to have a genetic variant that slows the breakdown of Efavirenz. This variant causes the drug to accumulate in the bloodstream, leading to hallucinations, depression and suicidal tendencies.
Ethiopia banned the use of codeine because a high proportion of its people carry a gene variant that causes them to rapidly convert the drug into morphine, which can cause breathing problems or even death.
A set of genetic mutations found mostly in people of African ancestry may make them less likely to respond to Albuterol — the most prescribed asthma drug in the world.
Creating a biobank and building a solution for a healthier world.
This initiative will help develop the world’s most powerful medical dataset, which will unlock priceless value in the advancement of medical research. The most immediate opportunity is to piggyback on the widespread testing of COVID-19 in South Africa.
This biobank will play a critical role in propelling us towards precise and personalised healthcare that’s driven by a more inclusive and comprehensive knowledge of our genome. As a result, Black people will have medicines that are both safe and suited to their genetics.
Africa has the fastest growing population of any continent
The population is expected to represent 33% of the world’s population by 2100
50% of Africa’s population are under the age of 18
There are an estimated 172 million African diaspora around the world