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CDC Awards $201M to Programs Combating Infectious Disease Threats

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that it has awarded $201 million to programs to help state and local governments address infectious disease threats using genomics and other technologies.

Of the total funding, $77 million has been set aside to help state health departments combat antibiotic resistance threats by increasing nationwide testing for drug-resistant Candida auris fungi; improving national tuberculosis surveillance through the establishment of a new national laboratory — dubbed the National TB Molecular Surveillance Center — that will be equipped to perform DNA sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria from newly diagnosed patients; and enhancing the detection of drug-resistant gonorrhea using whole-genome sequencing.

This funding will also be used to promote the use of whole-genome sequencing on food and waterborne bacteria by all state health labs, the CDC said.

"More than 23,000 people in the United States die each year from infections caused by antibiotic resistance," CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald said in a statement. "CDC is committed to helping states and cities strengthen their ability to combat antibiotic resistance, and these funds will help state efforts to keep people safe."

The remaining $124 million has been earmarked for over 40 infectious disease control projects including enhancing influenza surveillance and diagnostic testing, as well as detection of parasitic diseases, tick-borne diseases, West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, foodborne diseases, and waterborne diseases. The funding will also go toward building states' capacities to support the CDC's Advanced Molecular Detection initiative, which combines next-generation genomic sequencing with bioinformatics to more quickly identify and respond to disease outbreaks; and strengthening cross-cutting national surveillance, boosting laboratory infrastructure with the latest diagnostic technologies, and enhancing health information systems to efficiently transmit, receive, and analyze infectious disease-related data electronically.

The funding is being provided through the CDC's Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases cooperative agreement, which is tasked with helping states and communities address known and emerging infectious diseases.