Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Very Brief Blog: CDC Belatedly Supports Major COVID Sequence Surveillance

Update: Link to new, NYT story at bottom.


Last spring, I assumed that NGS sequencing of COVID could help fill in gaps in our public health knowledge (for example, using big data to track the movements and patterns of 200 strains of COVID in a city, when we lacked people and case workers to do so).   Plus, obviously, tracking in real time the appearance of novel virus strain behavior like fatality or contagiousness.   Not so; we've read that the US is something like 30th or 60th in its rate of sequencing COVID in its population.

Timely to see a news wire on January 5, 2021, that CDC is now investing in much larger scale U.S. sequencing studies through HELIX.   

Quote: “Having a robust surveillance effort in place is critical to understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 virus is evolving, and how our public health response needs to adapt,” said Dr. James Lu, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and President of Helix. “By bringing together the strengths of Helix, Illumina, and the CDC, we were able to quickly evaluate the prevalence of this new variant and take learnings from this effort to better and more proactively characterize future strains that will emerge.”

Find the press release here:

Coverage at CNN here.

At 1 pm eastern, 10 pacific, January 6, NY Times posted a lengthy story [1900 words] on the need for more use of COVID-SEQ in the U.S.