Professor Liesl Zühlke, Vice President-Extramural Research & Internal Portfolio of the SAMRC, and Terence Xiong, Vice President of Global Development at BGI Group, jointly unveiled the donated equipment. The unveiling was also attended by Glaudina Loots, Director for Health Innovation at the Department of Science and Innovation in South Africa, Professor Craig Kinnear, Director of the SAMRC-BGI Genomics Platform, Chen Songheng, General Manager of BGI Africa, and Mao Jun, BGI South Africa Country Manager.
BGI Group donates a DNBSEQ-G400 gene sequencer to the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).
The “SAMRC-BGI Genomics Platform” was opened in 2019 by SAMRC and BGI Group. The platform is now equipped with three DNBSEQ-G400 sequencers and is one of the largest genomics centers in Africa. BGI Group provides personnel training and technical support for its operation.
“BGI Group has always been a strategic partner of the South African Medical Research Council. The equipment donated by BGI Group this time will not only further enhance the technical capabilities of the institute, but also further promote scientific research between China and South Africa,” said Professor Craig Kinnear, Director of the SAMRC-BGI Genomics Platform.
Terence Xiong, Vice President of Global Development at BGI Group described the platform as, “a model of scientific and technological cooperation between China and South Africa. Under the guidance of the governments of the two countries.”
Over the past five years, BGI Group has, in cooperation with partners like China CDC and Southern Medical University, provided training on gene sequencing, molecular diagnosis, and infectious disease control to more than 100 doctors and technicians from African countries.
BGI Group provided training for SAMRC staff in 2018.
The SAMRC-BGI Genomics Platform was the first high-throughput gene sequencing institute in Africa and an important achievement in the field of medical and health cooperation between China and South Africa. In April 2017, during the China-Africa Ministerial Conference on Health Cooperation held in South Africa, BGI Group and the SAMRC signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation. In February 2018, under the witness of Wang Jian, Co-founder and Chairman of BGI Group, and Professor Glenda Gray, President and CEO of the SAMRC, the two parties signed a formal cooperation agreement on the top of Table Mountain. The platform was opened in 2019.
Terence Xiong added, "I believe that the platform will further strengthen capacity building in the future, and provide better and affordable technical services for clinical research, medical testing, and vaccine research and development in South Africa and even the majority of African countries."