UK scientists are to monitor the spread of the novel coronavirus and look ahead to emerging mutations by using gene sequencing to analyze the strains inflicting thousands of COVID-19 infections throughout the nation, Britain stated Monday.
Researchers will acquire data from samples from infected sufferers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the federal government mentioned in a statement.
A minimum of 281 Britons have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus that has spread around the globe in a pandemic.
Working in groups across Britain, scientists will measure and analyze the full genetic codes of the COVID-19 samples.
In epidemics, genome sequencing can help scientists observe small modifications in the virus at a national or international scale to understand how it’s spreading and whether different pressures are emerging.
The 20 million pound ($23 million) project, called the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium, shall be co-headed by the Wellcome Sanger Institute, which specializes in genetic analysis, PHE and other public health businesses, in addition to the National Health Service (NHS) and several academic establishments.
“All viruses accumulate mutations over time, some sooner than others,” stated Paul Klenerman, a prof. at Oxford University, who is involved in the work.