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Prize for SARS-CoV-2 Sequence Sharing

Eddie Holmes, a virologist at the University of Sydney, has won a top science prize for his part in sharing the sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, Australia's ABC News reports.

Holmes has been awarded the Aus $250,000 (US $185,000) Prime Minister's Prize for Science after decades of work on viral evolution, now including SARS-CoV-2, Inside Higher Ed adds. "Science has been at the forefront of our minds for the last 18 months, and Professor Holmes' contribution to accelerating the development of the COVID-19 vaccine – doses of hope, as I call them – saved countless lives," Prime minister Scott Morrison says, according to IHE.

According to ABC News, Holmes had previously studied patients at Wuhan Central Hospital in China and when COVID-19 emerged, reached out to colleagues including Fudan University's Yong-Zhen Zhang, to help. It adds that Zhang had the virus sequenced and found it resembled the SARS virus. But, as ABC News notes, China had been restricting what data could be released, leading Holmes, in consultation with and on behalf of his colleagues, to upload the viral genome to scientific website.

"I felt a huge weight of responsibility," Holmes tells ABC News, adding it was lifted after he shared the data.