Lessons from the Field

H3Africa partnerships to empower clinical research sites to generate high-quality biological samples

Talishiea Croxton, Ndidi Agala, Emmanuel Jonathan, Olasinbo Balogun, Petronilla J. Ozumba, Enzenwa Onyemata, Shefiya Lawal, Manmak Mamven, Samuel Ajayi, Sylvia E. Melikam, Mayowa Owolabi, Bruce Ovbiagele, Dwomoa Adu, Akinlolu Ojo, Christine Beiswanger, Alash'le Abimiku
African Journal of Laboratory Medicine | Vol 9, No 1 | a935 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v9i1.935 | © 2020 Talishiea Croxton, Ndidi Agala, Emmanuel Jonathan, Olasinbo Balogun, Petronilla J. Ozumba, Enzenwa Onyemata, Shefiya Lawal, Manmak Mamven, Samuel Ajayi, Sylvia E. Melikam, Mayowa Owolabi, Bruce Ovbiagele, Dwomoa Adu, Akinlolu Ojo, Christine M. Beiswanger, | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 December 2018 | Published: 18 March 2020

About the author(s)

Talishiea Croxton, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria; and, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Ndidi Agala, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria
Emmanuel Jonathan, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria
Olasinbo Balogun, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria
Petronilla J. Ozumba, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria
Enzenwa Onyemata, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria
Shefiya Lawal, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria
Manmak Mamven, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria
Samuel Ajayi, Department of Medicine, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria
Sylvia E. Melikam, Department of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Mayowa Owolabi, Center for Genomic and Precision Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Bruce Ovbiagele, Department of Neurology, University of Ghana Medical School, Accra, Ghana
Dwomoa Adu, Department of Neurology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Akinlolu Ojo, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Christine Beiswanger, Coriell Institute for Medical Research, Camden, New Jersey;and, Independent Contractor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Alash'le Abimiku, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria; and, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, United States


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Abstract

Background: The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) – Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) Biorepository (I-HAB) seeks to provide high-quality biospecimens for research. This depends on the ability of clinical research sites (CRS) – who provide biospecimens – to operate according to well-established industry standards. Yet, standards are often neglected at CRSs located in Africa. Here, I-HAB reports on its four-pronged approach to empower CRSs to prepare high-quality biospecimens for research.

Objectives: I-HAB sought (1) to assess a four-pronged approach to improve biobanking practices and sample quality among CRSs, and (2) to build human capacity.

Methods: I-HAB partnered with two H3Africa principal investigators located in Nigeria and Ghana from August 2013 through to May 2017 to debut its four-pronged approach (needs assessment, training and mentorship, pilot, and continuous quality improvement) to empower CRSs to attain high-quality biospecimens.

Results: Close collaborations were instrumental in establishing mutually beneficial and lasting relationships. Improvements during the 12 months of engagement with CRSs involved personnel, procedural, and supply upgrades. In total, 51 staff were trained in over 20 topics. During the pilot, CRSs extracted 50 DNA biospecimens from whole blood and performed quality control. The CRSs shipped extracted DNA to I-HAB and I-HAB that comparatively analysed the DNA. Remediation was achieved via recommendations, training, and mentorship. Preanalytical, analytical and post-analytical processes, standard operating procedures, and workflows were systematically developed.

Conclusion: Partnerships between I-HAB and H3Africa CRSs enabled research sites to produce high-quality biospecimens through needs assessment, training and mentorship, pilot, and continuous monitoring and improvement.


Keywords

biobank; training; Africa; developing country; biotechnology

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