The financial aid will allow the CDC and states to fight more effectively against the mutations that currently account for half of the COVID-19 cases in the country.
Currently, the original strain of the coronavirus comprises only about half of all cases in the United States. At the same time, potentially more dangerous new variants make up the other half. According to information to which Infobae had access, the Administration of President Joe Biden will invest 1.7 billion dollars from the American Rescue Plan to help states and other jurisdictions to fight more effectively against these mutations.
An essential component of the response to emerging variants is increasing the country's genomic sequencing. The process by which coronavirus DNA is decoded and its life-threatening mutations detected. The funding, allocated through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will help the government agency, states, and other jurisdictions more effectively detect and track variants by expanding the genomic sequencing efforts. In addition to the information obtained from the sequence, the CDC and state and local public health authorities will use well-known preventive measures to prevent this spread.
As of early February, US labs were only sequencing about 8,000 coronavirus strains per week. Since then, the pace of sequencing has increased dramatically, strengthening the country's ability to detect and respond to emerging and more contagious variants, such as those currently spreading across the Midwest and parts of the east coast of the United States.
The Biden Administration has already invested nearly $ 200 million to help increase genomic sequencing to 29,000 samples per week. Through funding to be announced Friday, states and the CDC will further expand that number and provide states with more resources to add to their own efforts and increase geographic coverage. In this way, the detection of emerging threats such as variants will be enhanced.
This will mean that both existing and new coronavirus variants can be found more quickly and before they become prevalent.
The announcement expected for this Friday includes:
- $ 1 billion to expand genomic sequencing. This funding will help CDC, states, and other jurisdictions improve their ability to identify coronavirus mutations and control the circulation of the variants. Specifically, it will allow CDC and jurisdictional health departments to conduct, expand, and improve genome sequencing and SARS-CoV-2 mutation identification activities.
- $ 400 million to support innovation initiatives, including the launch of new and innovative Centers of Excellence in Genomic Epidemiology. The funding will establish six centers that will function as partnerships between state health departments and academic institutions. The funding will drive cutting-edge research in genomic epidemiology. Partnerships could focus on developing new genomic surveillance tools to better track pathogens of public health concern to develop surveillance methods that are more widely used in the public health system, 300 million for the construction and maintenance of national bioinformatics infrastructure. Experts use bioinformatics and complex informatics to connect the dots between the spread and mutation of pathogens and help resolve outbreaks. The investment will help bioinformatics in public health systems beyond the United States, building a unified system for sharing and analyzing sequential data that protects privacy but offers more informed decisions. The funds will also help train to enhance the continuity of the clinical setting and the CDC's Bioinformatics Fellowship Program.