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Symbolic legislation and the regulation of stroke biobanking and genomics research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Raj KalariaORCiD, Dr Rufus Akinyemi


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© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Stroke is a major cause of death in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and genetic factors appear to play a part. This led to the development of stroke bio-banking and genomics research in SSA. Existing stroke studies have focused on causes, incidence rates, fatalities and effects. However, scant attention has been paid to the legal issues about stroke bio-banking and genomics research in the sub-region. Therefore, this article examines how genomics research and stroke bio-banking in SSA can be regulated through legislation. The article reports that there are germane issues to be addressed such as appropriate consent model, commercial use of biological samples, ownership right in biological samples and return of research results but that the position of the law on these issues is not satisfactory because there is no statute directly regulating them while existing regulations in these countries are either absent, outdated, conservative or difficult to navigate. The article, therefore, applies the theory of symbolic legislation and argues for legislative intervention through a positive symbolic approach. It recommends that the statute to be enacted should only address policy issues by way of legal rules without being detailed while the understanding of the rules should be fostered in explanatory notes. The explanatory notes should contain examples borne of decided cases, cases settled out of court and the ethical guidelines prepared by Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3 Africa). Where they are inadequate, recourse may be had to other ethical guidelines subject to the demands of local circumstances.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Adigun M, Ojebuyi BR, Akinyemi J, Wahab K, Akpalu A, Sarfo FS, Owolabi LF, Musbahu R, Bello A, Obiako R, Ogunronbi M, Singh A, Nichols M, Jenkins C, Jegede A, Kalaria R, Owolabi M, Ovbiagele B, Arulogun O, Akinyemi R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Theory and Practice of Legislation

Year: 2021

Volume: 9

Issue: 3

Pages: 404-424

Online publication date: 31/01/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (print): 2050-8840

ISSN (electronic): 2050-8859

Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd


DOI: 10.1080/20508840.2022.2025741


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Funder referenceFunder name
African Neurobiobank for Precision Stroke Medicine Project, SIREN
H3Africa CVD Supplement
National Institutes of Health
SIBS Gen Gen
SIBS Genomics
Sub-Saharan Africa Conference on Stroke (SSACS)
Training Africans to Lead and Execute Neurological Trials & Studies (TALENTS)