The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium recently attracted more funding—$16.1 million powering its SARS-CoV-2 surveillance initiatives. Set up in March thanks to a £20 million injection from the UK National Health Service (NHS) as well as additional public health and research groups, the team was established to execute ongoing sequencing-based studies of the novel coronavirus transmission and evolution. Thus far, the group has produced over 100,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Now with additional funding, the group will bolster its sequencing capacity, leading to a reduction in patient sample to genome sequence turnaround time: important given the dramatically rising number of COVID-19 cases in this second wave of the pandemic.
For more about this group and their funding sources, follow the link. Emphasizing the importance of this work as reported recently in Genomeweb, COG-UK Director Sharon Peacock shared, “The pattern of accumulation of mutations in the genomes enables us to determine the relatedness of virus samples and define viral lineages in order to understand whether local outbreaks are caused by transmission or single or multiple viral lineages.” Ms. Peacock continued, “Analysis of viral genome sequences also allows us to monitor the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and assess whether specific mutations influence transmission, disease severity, or the impact of interventions such as vaccines.”