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Cambridge to spearhead £20million alliance to map spread of COVID-19 coronavirus

last modified Apr 01, 2020 09:00 AM
The University of Cambridge is to take a leading role in a major national effort to help understand and control the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) announced today by the Government and the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser.
Cambridge to spearhead £20million alliance to map spread of COVID-19 coronavirus

COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium

Through a £20 million investment administered by the University, the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium – comprised of the NHS, Public Health Agencies, Wellcome Sanger Institute, and numerous academic institutions – will deliver large-scale, rapid sequencing of the cause of the disease and share intelligence with hospitals, regional NHS centres and the Government.

Samples from patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be sent to a network of sequencing centres which currently includes Belfast, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford and Sheffield.

The University, together with the Wellcome Sanger Institute, one of the world’s most advanced centres of genomes and data, will coordinate the collaboration between expert groups across the UK to analyse the genetic code of COVID-19 samples circulating in the UK and in doing so, give public health agencies and clinicians a unique, cutting-edge tool to combat the virus.

By looking at the whole virus genome in people who have had confirmed cases of COVID-19, scientists can monitor changes in the virus at a national scale to understand how the virus is spreading and whether different strains are emerging. This will help clinical care of patients and save lives.

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