CSIR NextGen Health centres on a One Health approach to achieve optimal health outcomes, with a focus that spans the full health value chain – from prevention to diagnosis, treatment and monitoring – while equipping the health sector with capabilities to utilise fourth industrial revolution technologies.
South Africa’s growing burden of disease calls for the health sector to provide accessible and cost-effective health technologies and medical supplies for impactful health service outcomes.
The CSIR’s key strategic areas that support South Africa and Africa’s health systems include:
- A synthetic biology and precision medicine centre that conducts cutting-edge research with a key focus in:
- Industrial synthetic biology and nanobiomachines, with key platforms that conduct research on synthetic biology and cancer precision medicine
- Bioengineering and integrated genomics, focusing on African microbiome research, digital precision medicine, adverse drug reaction, genome engineering and stem cell bioengineering to improve the treatment outcomes of African populations
- MicroArray-based technologies for high-throughput screening to apply in drug screening, malaria drug discovery and point-of-care diagnostics, including multiplex point-of-care diagnostics tests
- Proteomics for clinical research, including proteomics data science with tailored data interpretation for drug discovery, identification of biomarkers and new age diagnostics.
- Veterinary vaccines and diagnostics, focusing on vaccine research using bacteria and plant-based expression systems, and developing molecular diagnostic kits, including lab-on-chip, point-of-care solutions for veterinary, aquaculture and diagnosis of zoonotic diseases.
- Human molecular diagnostics and omics, focusing on developing a thriving local medical devices and diagnostic industry, and positioning South Africa as a key exporter of these technologies.
- Diagnostic laboratory testing, focusing on polymerase chain reaction tests for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), while expanding services to include DNA profiling, paternity tests, inherited disorder tests, respiratory pathogens tests, as well as HIV and TB diagnostics.
State-of-the-art infrastructure, underpinned by strong capabilities and expertise in the defined strategic areas, provides a baseline for this group to conduct high-impact research for early detection of diseases, better treatment outcomes and to drive a robust healthcare industry in South Africa.
Key partners that support CSIR NextGen Health include the Department of Science and Innovation, the Technology Innovation Agency, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, as well as other partners in the public and private sectors, locally and internationally.