• Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:53 pm

US investing $200m on virus variant detection

  • Published at 08:24 pm February 18th, 2021
US Covid-19 Surge
File photo: People wait in line for Covid-19 testing at Lincoln Park on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, in Los Angeles on November 30, 2020 AFP

The US has been lagging behind dozens of countries in its efforts to track virus variants, putting at risk the progress made in containing its Covid-19 outbreak

US President Joe Biden's administration said on Wednesday it was investing nearly $200 million to identify emerging strains of the coronavirus through expanded genome sequencing.

According to a statement, the investment will increase sequencing carried out by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "more than threefold from about 7,000 samples per week to approximately 25,000."

The US has been lagging behind dozens of countries in its efforts to track virus variants, putting at risk the progress made in containing its Covid-19 outbreak.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky told reporters that as of Tuesday, the US had detected 1,277 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in Britain, including the first case with the dangerous E484K mutation, which is common to the South African and Brazilian variants and makes them less susceptible to antibodies. 

Nineteen cases of the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa and three cases of the P.1 variant have also been detected.

The administration is also spending $650 million to increase testing in schools and underserved sites such as homeless shelters, and $815 million to increase domestic manufacturing of testing supplies.

The US is the hardest-hit country in the world, with more than 488,000 deaths and 2.4 million confirmed infections, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

While its immunization campaign got off to a shaky start, the vaccination rate is now increasing. 

More than 39 million people have received one or more dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, almost 12 percent of the US population of 330 million.

In positive news, Anthony Fauci, Biden's top advisor on the pandemic, told reporters that in addition to protecting people from Covid-19, new studies from Spain and Israel showed that vaccines also appeared to reduce the viral load of people who were asymptomatically infected.

"The vaccine is important not only for the health of the individual to protect them against infection and disease, including the variants... but it also has very important implications from a public health standpoint, for interfering and diminishing the dynamics of the outbreak," he said.

Facebook 51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail