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The COVID-19 bill will expand its ability to detect viral mutations

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Washington-ATTN Desk: Explained in the file art of Jeff Seients, COVID Coordinator of the White House.

Such ignorance can turn out to be costly. One concern is that more contagious forms, such as British variants, may move faster than the country’s ability to put the vaccine in the arms of Americans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are trying to lead these efforts in line with the government’s own advanced detection efforts, but the COVID-19 Act will take hunting to another level.

In the Senate, Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin has introduced a law that provides $ 2 billion. Baldwin says the United States needs to use gene mapping technology to analyze at least 15% of positive virus samples. It may not sound like much, but the current percentage is thought to be 0.3% to 0.5%. Analyzing 15% of the positive samples will increase surveillance by at least 30 times.

“Variants represent an increasing threat. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it was essential to improve testing capabilities to track and delay the spread of the virus,” Baldwin said. The same is true for tracking. Variants. “

Genome sequencing essentially involves mapping the DNA of an organism. This is the key to its unique functionality. This is done by high-tech machines that cost hundreds of thousands to over a million dollars. Technicians trained to run machines and computing power to support the entire process increase costs.

In the case of the UK variant, which was first detected in the UK, it is believed that changes in the virus make it easier for the virus to spread and cause the fatal COVID-19 disease. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle reports that transmission of UK variants has been confirmed in at least 10 US states. CDC director Dr. Rochelle Warrensky told the governor on Tuesday that he could be dominant by the end of March.

Sequencing 0.3% to 0.5% of virus samples, as the United States is currently doing, “does not give us the ability to detect strains when they emerge and dominate,” Illumina Chief said. Dr. Philfebo, a medical officer, said. A San Diego-based company that develops genome sequencing technology.

He added that the Biden administration needs to “set very clear goals.” “What is the hill we are trying to charge?”

“We need that data, or in a sense we’re flying blindly,” said Esther Krofah, who directs the Milken Institute’s FasterCures initiative. “We don’t understand the prevalence of mutations to worry about in the United States.”

Even more worrisome than the British variant is the first strain detected in South Africa, where scientists suspect that it may be at least partially resistant to some of the coronavirus vaccines. The variant has also been identified in the United States in a limited number of cases.

Jeff Seiens, Coronavirus Coordinator at the White House, called the tracking of virus mutations in the United States “totally unacceptable” and said the United States was ranked 43rd in the world. However, the Biden administration has not set a goal for what level of viral gene mapping the country should aim for.

At the University of Wisconsin, AIDS scientist O’Connor said he and his colleagues began sequencing coronavirus samples from the Madison area “because we live”.

His colleague and virology expert Thomas Friedrich said the country’s efforts would require more than money to buy a new genome sequencing machine. The CDC needs to set standards for full sharing of information gathered from analysis of virus samples by state health authorities and academic research institutes. Currently, there is a jumble of state regulations and practices, some of which restrict access to important details.

“We need to think of this as the Manhattan Project or the Apollo Program,” Friedrich said, calling for a government-led scientific effort to develop the atomic bomb and land people on the Moon.

“The usefulness of doing this may not have been so obvious to many until these variants began to emerge,” Friedrich said.

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