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Various hunters in the UK are leading the world race to stay ahead of COVID

LONDON (AP) – 2020 On March 4, when 84 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the UK, Professor Sharon Pickock realized that the country needed to expand its capacity to analyze the genetic makeup of the virus.

The microbiologist at the University of Cambridge realized that the sequence of the genome could play a role in reversing the disease, controlling outbreaks and developing vaccines. So he started working with partners across the country to come up with a plan. Within a month, the government provided միլիոն 20 million ($ 28 million) to fund their work.

The initiative helped Britain become a world leader in rapidly analyzing the genetic material of a large number of COVID-19 infections, generating more than 40% of the genome sequences found to date. Their challenge these days is to find new options that are more dangerous or resistant to vaccines, information that could help researchers modify vaccines or develop new ones to fight the ever-changing virus.

“They showed the world how you do it,” said Dr. Eric Topol, Chair of Innovative Medicine at Scripps Research in San Diego, California.

Genomic sequencing is essentially the process of mapping the unique genetic makeup of individual organisms. In this case, the virus that causes VIVID-19. Although this technique is used by researchers to study the flu virus from cancer to food poisoning, this is the first time authorities have used it to provide real-time control of the global epidemic.

Peacock, 62, is leading the British succession as CEO of COVID-19 UK Genomics Consortium, known as COG-UK, the group he helped set up a year ago.

During the first week of this month, COG-UK sequenced 13,171 viruses, up from 260 in the first 12 days of March last year, according to the group’s weekly weekly reports.

Behind this growth is a system that links the science of genome sequencing to the resources of Britain’s national healthcare system.

Positive COVID-19 tests from hospitals և community testing programs are sent to a network of 17 laboratories, where scientists spend their days extracting genetic material from each swab and analyzing it to find the unique genetic code for the virus. The sequences are then passed on to public health data to better understand how, where, and why COVID-19 is spreading.

When mutations of the virus correspond to an otherwise unexplained increase in cases, it indicates that a new type of concern is circulating in the area.

The importance of the genome sequence became apparent late last year as the number of new infections began to rise in the south-east of England. As cases continued to grow, despite severe local restrictions, health officials began working to find out why.

Based on genome sequencing data, scientists have discovered a new version that includes a number of mutations that make it easier for a virus to jump from one person to another.

Armed with this information, Prime Minister Boris John Onson imposed a national blockade, repealing a local restraint strategy that failed to contain the new version.

Scientific cutting is very important, but it is like looking for a needle in the grass, because researchers have to sift through thousands of harmless genetic sequences to find the rare dangerous ones.

“It’s very important for us to be able to understand what options are circulating both in the UK and around the world, and consequently the effects on vaccine development and vaccine adaptation,” he said.

The ankles are a global collaboration. More than 120 countries are following in the footsteps of GISAID, a data exchange center originally designed to track down influenza viruses.

Iceland, Australia, New Zealand և Denmark actually follow up with a higher percentage of their COVID-19 cases than the UK և Denmark does the job faster. But the work of COG-UK, coupled with the large number of UK-sized cases, has made it the world leader in the COVID-19 sequence. The UK submitted 379,294 of the nearly 898,000 sequences in the GISAID database.

This work pays dividends even for advanced countries such as Denmark, where scientists use tools developed in Britain to analyze their own data.

“What Britain has done so much better right now is the whole team,” Albertsen said. “So they have a lot more researchers, a much more professional structure around how to use the data.”

The United States is also trying to learn from Britain as the Biden administration reverses its predecessor’s anti-scientific policies, slowing down the country’s succession efforts. This was stated by Topol in Scripps Research. COG – Representatives from the United Kingdom recently participated in a call with American researchers և Rockefeller Foundation for capacity building in the United States.

“According to the Peacock’s staff, they just did not stop in sequence,” Topol said. “They set up laboratories to do this other work, which is actually a very intensive laboratory. And then there is the epidemiological assessment. So everything has to fire on every cylinder, you know. It’s like a 12-cylinder car. “Everyone has to shoot to move.”

The success of the British sequence was based on breakthrough genetic science in Britain, starting with the work of James Ames Watson, Francis Crick and Rosalind Franklin, who were credited with discovering the chemical structure of DNA. Other British scientists developed an early sequencing technique, and later a new technology that reduced the sequencing time and cost.

That success attracted investment, such as the Wellcome Trust’s 1992 decision to establish the Sanger Center to help map the human genome, further expanding the expert group in the UK. And the British National Health Service has provided a lot of data for researchers to study.

However, colleagues say that Peacock personally deserves a great reputation for the success of COG-UK, although he prefers to emphasize the work of others.

A brutally good organizer, he glued the nation’s DNA spies together through goodwill: chats. Part of the trick was to persuade famous scientists to put aside their ego-academic rivalries and work together to fight the epidemic.

Peacock’s work on the Ac project has earned him the reputation of տեսակի the obsession of the main hunter of various kinds. But he prefers a simpler term.

“I consider myself, first and foremost, a scientist who does everything he can to try to help people in the UK and elsewhere control the epidemic,” he said. “Maybe there is a better expression for that, but the scientist will do it.”


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