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Funds for Viral Genomic Surveillance

The Biden Administration is investing $1.7 billion for the detection and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 variants, as GenomeWeb has reported.

A number of SARS-CoV-2 variants have been identified, including variants of concern like B.1.1.7, B.1.3.5, and P.1. B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the UK, is now the most common variant in the US.

With funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Biden Administration says it is providing $1 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local governments to expand genome sequencing to identify and monitor SARS-CoV-2 variants. At the same time, $400 million is going toward the launch of six Centers of Excellence in Genomic Epidemiology and $300 million to build a national bioinformatics infrastructure.

"Our goal is to get that money out as fast as possible to help states in all the many ways that they need to be able to expand their own sequencing capacity," Carole Johnson, the White House COVID-19 testing coordinator, tells NPR. She adds that this funding is "both about today and about building for the long term."