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University of Minnesota Genomics Center Gets $750K CDC Contract to Sequence SARS-CoV-2

NEW YORK — The University of Minnesota Genomics Center said on Tuesday that it has been awarded a nearly $750,000 contract from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to sequence 6,000 SARS-CoV-2 samples to aid in virus surveillance.

The center will work with the Minnesota Department of Health to sequence the samples, which will primarily come from Minnesota but may include ones from surrounding Upper Midwest states, over a one-year period. The reported data will only contain genomic information from the virus, not the infected individual.

"This new resource not only will keep the momentum of the COVID-19 variant surveillance within Minnesota, but also boost the entire US central region states' SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequencing effort," Sean Wang, a sequencing and bioinformatics supervisor at the MDH, said in a statement. "More importantly, the research component will help University of Minnesota researchers further understand COVID-19 host-pathogen interactions through sequencing."

UMGC said that the CDC contract will build on the sequencing of over 3,000 viral genomes it performed for the MDH in recent weeks.