President Joe Biden‘s administration announced it would invest $1.7 billion into tracking and combating COVID-19 variants as new strains of the virus continue to appear across the United States.
“Thanks to today’s funding from the American Rescue Plan, states and the CDC will expand that even further and, importantly, provide states with more resources to expand their own efforts to increase geographic coverage of sequencing to better detect emerging threats like variants,” the White House said in a release. “This will mean that both existing and any new COVID variants could be detected faster, before they grow prevalent.”
The commitment, at least in part, will help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) improve genomic sequencing of Covid-19 variants and boost genomic sequencing to about 29,000 COVID-19 strains per week. Money will be provided to laboratories around the country to collect and sequence Covid-19 samples as well as provide data.
Additionally, $400 million will go to creating six Centers of Excellence in Genomic Epidemiology which will work alongside state health departments and academic institutions to research genomic sequencing. $300 million will also contribute to the development of a National Bioinformatics Infrastructure that will track information on Covid-19 sequencing nationwide.
You can read the White House release HERE.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.