NEW YORK — The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) Consortium on Saturday said that it has been awarded £12.2 million ($16.1 million) in new funding to expand its SARS-CoV-2 surveillance efforts.
COG-UK was established in March with £20 million from the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and other public health and research organizations to perform sequencing-based studies of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and evolution. To date, it has generated and made publicly available more than 100,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes.
With the new funding, COG-UK aims to increase its sequencing capacity and reduce the turnaround time from patient sample to genome sequence as SARS-CoV-2 case numbers rise in the UK.
"The pattern of accumulation of mutations in the genomes enables us to determine the relatedness of virus samples and define viral lineages in order to understand whether local outbreaks are caused by transmission of single or multiple viral lineages," COG-UK Director Sharon Peacock said in a statement. "Analysis of viral genome sequences also allows us to monitor the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and assess whether specific mutations influence transmission, disease severity, or the impact of interventions such as vaccines."