Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, has launched Revna Biosciences, a biomedical research and clinical service facility in Accra, to advance precision medicine.
Precision medicine looks at the genetics, environment, and lifestyle of a person to select the treatment that could best work for him or her.
The Director of Infrastructure Department of the Ministry of Health, Mr Ben Ampomah, launched the Revna Biosciences’ purpose-built, multifactional biomedical research facility in Accra, on behalf of the Health Minister.
Mr Agyeman-Manu commended the company for its initiative and said in the era of preventive and evidence-based medicine diagnostics and research played a very crucial role in delivering total quality healthcare services for improved outcomes.
The Minister noted that globally, timely detection, diagnosis and prompt initiation of appropriate therapy were key in reducing the burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases in the population.
He said since routine or regular medical screening was often not undertaken by most Ghanaians, patients presented diseases to the hospital at an advanced stage, minimising their window of opportunity, and that was where precision medicine became very important.
“In the area of cancer for example, unfortunately, all the tests that helped select appropriate and optimal therapy for the patients were currently sent outside the country for analysis,” he said.
“The closest is South Africa, with extended turn-around-time that obviously delays the initiation of prompt treatment that may benefit the patient.”
“With the establishment of Revna Biosciences, a precision medicine company that uses advanced molecular diagnostic techniques, these clinically important tests and host of others can be performed right here in Ghana with reports generated relatively quickly, eliminating completely the long waiting time.”
It afforded clinicians the opportunity to initiate prompt treatment for better outcomes, he said, and that foreign currencies that would have been used to pay for those tests overseas would remain in the country.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the Ministry of Health saw public-private partnership in the health sector as a means of expanding access to comprehensive healthcare whilst building the capacity of the various health professionals.
He commended Revna Biosciences for not considering the other players in the diagnostic and research industry as competitors but rather as collaborators for capacity building and clinically meaningful research.
Professor Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, the Director, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, said the availability and access to high-quality diagnosis had grained wider attention recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said with better diagnostics came more accurate disease identification, more appropriate treatment materials and lower cost.
The Director said in many areas globally, however, some of the most treatable diseases and conditions remained health burdens due to a lack of appropriate or available diagnosis.
Prof Yeboah-Manu congratulated Revna Biosciences for the initiative and said Ghana needed such institutions, especially for non-communicable diseases.
She urged medical research institutions to see each other as partners and to collaborate in their activities.
Dr Derrick Edem Akpalu, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Revna Biosciences, said the facility’s goal was to increase access to advanced molecular diagnostics as a first step to making precision medicine a reality in Africa.
“We are very delighted to launch Revna Biosciences and to commence our journey of advancing precision medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.
“In concert with our partners as well as our diverse local and international collaborators, we are excited that our quest to promote good science for all has begun.”