CNN writes that the emergence of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 has highlighted how sequencing can spot new viral variants, but it notes that that sequencing ability is not spread evenly across the world.
According to CNN, only a dozen countries have sequenced 5 percent or more of their COVID-19 cases in the past month: Aruba, Bahrain, Botswana, Cambodia, Denmark, Ghana, Israel, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Senegal, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. It notes, though, that some of these countries were able to sequence such a percentage because their infections rates were low. CNN adds that the UK stands out as a spot with both a high caseload and a high portion, 13 percent, of sequenced COVID-19 cases.
The health ministry in South Africa, one of the places to sound the alarm on the Omicron variant, says that though it sequenced less than 1 percent of cases last month, it has focused its sequencing in regions where it has seen an upswing in cases, like Gauteng province where Omicron was found, CNN notes.