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University of Nottingham Joins National Consortium to Sequence COVID-19

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak visiting a coronavirus testing laboratory

The University of Nottingham has just announced its involvement in a Government-backed project, involving leading clinicians and scientists working together to map the spreading and behaviour of COVID-19 using whole genome sequencing.

The UK Consortium aims to deliver large scale, rapid sequencing of the disease and share any intelligence with hospitals, regional NHS centres and the Government in a bid to lessen COVID-19’s impact. The current number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the UK is already way over 5,000, along with 281 unfortunate deaths, and cases are expected to rise even further due to a lack of proper testing. It is therefore hoped that the Consortium will increased scientific understanding of the virus, as well as promote greater awareness of how the virus is developing and the most effective measures that can be put in place to minimise national risk.

“The consortium, which a team from Nottingham is a part of, have been able to secure £20 million of investment which will be put towards investigating clusters of virus cases”

With support from the NHS, Public Health England, UKRI, Wellcome and the UK Government, the Consortium, which a team from Nottingham is a part of, have been able to secure £20 million of investment which will be put to investigating clusters of virus cases in clinical locations, such as care homes and hospitals. This data will then be analysed and relayed to the government in order to implement effective control measures against the infection which is now classified as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “At a critical moment in history, this new consortium will bring together the UK’s brightest and best scientists to build our understanding of this pandemic, tackle the disease and ultimately, save lives.

The university can therefore be seen as playing a very active role in trying to combat this virus”

This news comes shortly after the Nottingham universities provided 16 machines to the national COVID-19 testing effort, and along with the recent increased scientific funding and research as part of the Consortium, demonstrates the very active role of the city’s academic community in trying to combat this virus. “We are proud to join this national partnership to track how the SARS-CoV-2 virus has affected the UK”, noted Professor Richard Emes, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham. “The University of Nottingham has built an international reputation for genome sequencing at it’s DeepSeq facility and we are pleased to be able to support this initiative to generate and disseminate genomic information essential to better understand and combat this pandemic.”

More information on the project can be found here.

Lauren McGaun

Sources:

https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/covid-19-sequencing

https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/test-kits-for-c-19?fbclid=IwAR3v7iFKJjs5u_zfipUH6wWIlg7SWhMW5WaE7Ru8f8bYitlOYFVpnvhee9k

https://pharmafield.co.uk/healthcare/uk-to-map-coronavirus-spread-with-whole-genome-sequence-alliance/

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51768274

https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—11-march-2020

Featured image courtesy of HM Treasury on Flickr. Image license found here.

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