UK to offer genomics resources for global Covid fight

In this photograph taken on October 7, 2020 paper-based sample tests for the Covid-19 coronavirus developed by CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), which could give results at a similar speed of a pregnancy test, are seen at a laboratory of the IGIB in New Delhi. (Photo: AFP)
  • Agence France-Presse
  • January 26, 2021 2:38 AM

London, United Kingdom | Britain will offer its genomics expertise to countries lacking resources to identify new variants of the virus that causes Covid-19, the government was set to announce Tuesday.

"This pandemic has shown that the foundations of so many of the exciting experiences that make life worth living are contingent not just on our health, or the health of our neighbours, but the health of people we've never met," Health Secretary Matt Hancock was to say, according to extracts of his speech released by the government.

"When one of us suffers, we all suffer. So we must work to promote health security in every single part of the world," he was to add.

Britain hopes to use its presidency of the G7 this year to push for a "more collaborative and effective global health system" to ensure the international community is better prepared for future threats.

As part of this, Britain will offer resources to help countries analyse new strains through the  "New Variant Assessment Platform", which will be led by Public Health England (PHE) in partnership with the World Health Organization's (WHO) SARS-CoV-2 Global Laboratory Working Group.

British laboratories will work directly on samples sent from abroad or will provide "expert advice and support remotely" where needed, said the government. 

Countries will apply for help through the WHO.

Britain has carried out more than half of all SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences submitted to the global database, and its scientists identified the variant currently running rampant across the country.

© Agence France-Presse

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