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Project to Sequence COVID-19 Patients

Researchers in the UK plan to sequence the genomes of people who become ill with COVID-19 to try to pinpoint genetic variants that contribute to disease susceptibility or severity, as GenomeWeb reports.

According to BBC News, a team led by Kenneth Baillie, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh and GenOMICC study leader, has received £28 million (US $34.4 million) in funding to sequence 20,000 people with COVID-19 who need intensive care treatment and 15,000 people with the disease who exhibit more mild symptoms. That funding, GenomeWeb adds, is coming from UK Research and Innovation, the Department of Health and Social Care, the National Institute for Health Research, and Genomics England, while Illumina is providing an in-kind contribution.

Study results, the BBC says, will help inform strategic planning for future waves of COVID-19 or even other pandemics.

"By reading the whole genome, we may [be] able to identify variation that affects response to COVID-19 and discover new therapies that could reduce harm, save lives, and even prevent future outbreaks," Mark Caulfield, chief scientist at Genomics England, says in a statement.