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CDC launches national viral genomics consortium to map SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has kicked off the SARSCoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology and Surveillance (SPHERES) consortium, which will greatly expand the use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) of the COVID-19 virus.

This national network of sequencing laboratories will speed the release of SARS-CoV-2 sequence data into the public domain.

SPHERES will provide consistent, realtime sequence data to the public health response teams investigating cases and clusters of COVID-19 across the country.

Genomic sequence data can provide insight into the biology of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and help define the changing landscape of the pandemic. By sequencing viruses from across the United States, CDC and other public health authorities can monitor important changes in the virus and use this information to guide contact tracing, public health mitigation efforts, and infection control strategies.

The SPHERES consortium will coordinate SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing nationally, organizing dozens of smaller, individual efforts into a single, distributed network of 40 state and local public health departments, several large clinical laboratories, and over two dozen collaborating institutions across the federal government, academia, and the private sector.

Consortium members share a commitment to rapid open sequence sharing. They plan to submit all useful sequence data into public repositories at the National Library of Medicine's National Center for Biotechnology Information (NLM/ NCBI), the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID), and other public sequence repositories. This will help ensure thatthat viral sequence data from across the United States is rapidly available for public health decision making and freely accessible to researchers everywhere.

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Title Annotation:THE OBSERVATORY :: NEWS: TRENDS: ANALYSIS
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Date:Jun 1, 2020
Words:263
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