A systematic review to describe patterns of animal and human viral research in Rwanda

M. Fausta Dutuze, Maurice Byukusenge, Anselme Shyaka, Rebecca C. Christofferson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Rwanda is located in the Central East African region where several viral pathogens with global importance were originally described, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Ebola, Zika, Rift Valley Fever (RVF), dengue and a long list of other neglected tropical viral pathogens. Due to many factors, this region has the potential to become a global hotspot for viral emergence. In Rwanda, viral diseases are underreported and the question is whether this is due to the absence of these viruses or a lack of investigation. Like many developing countries, capabilities in Rwanda need improvement despite research efforts throughout the years. This review describes the status of human and animal virus research in Rwanda and identifies relevant research and operational gaps. A comprehensive search was conducted in PubMed for virus research in Rwanda: 233 primary studies on viruses/viral diseases are indexed with connection to Rwanda. From 1958 to 2020, yearly publications generally increased and HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is the most studied virus. Compared with human viruses, few studies focus on animal and/or zoonotic viruses. The occurrence of the current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic shows strengthening warning and surveillance systems is critical to efficient preparedness and response. We recommend investment in human capacity, laboratory facilities and research to inform policy for viral surveillance in Rwanda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalInternational health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine

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