The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to ramp up the number of SARS-CoV-2 samples that are sequenced in the US, CNN reports.
CNN adds that the US has been criticized for its limited SARS-CoV-2 sequencing. It notes, for instance, that the US has contributed 57,000 SARS-CoV-2 sequences to the GISAID database, while the UK has submitted 141,000 sequences.
The CDC's Gregory Armstrong tells it that the US currently sequences about 3,000 samples a week and that the agency hopes to increase that to about 6,500 samples a week in the next two weeks. According to CNN, the CDC has provided funding to state health and university labs and has made contracts with private labs for sequencing.
Increased sequencing, Armstrong tells CNN, will better enable the agency to spot any new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Last month, officials in the UK noticed a new SARS-CoV-2 strain, called B.1.1.7, that appears to be more easily transmitted that has now been detected across the world, including in the US.