The Biden Administration says it will create a national network to identify and track viral mutations of coronavirus in order to prevent future pandemics, according to the AP. The network will cost approximately $1.7 billion to create.
White House officials unveiled a strategy that features three components: a major funding boost for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments to ramp up coronavirus gene-mapping; the creation of six “centers of excellence” partnerships with universities to conduct research and develop technologies for gene-based surveillance of pathogens, and building a data system to better share and analyze information on emerging disease threats, so knowledge can be turned into action.
The Biden administration’s move comes as a variant known as B117, which first emerged in the United Kingdom, has become the predominant strain in the US. In hard-hit Michigan, the more transmissible mutation accounts for more than half the cases, according to CDC data. That’s also the case in Minnesota. Vaccines are effective against the so-called UK variant, but other mutations circulating around the globe have shown resistance to currently available vaccines.