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Why is the UK leading the genetic hunt for COVID-19?  Key: A woman, resources, her story …

Why is the UK leading the genetic hunt for COVID-19? Key: A woman, resources, her story …

The United Kingdom is the world leader in rapidly analyzing genetic material from a large number of patients. COVID-19, Responsible for more than 40 percent of the genetic sequences identified to date, why? These are some of the reasons.

Written by Donica Kirka

LONDON (AP) – As of March 4, 2020, there were 84 confirmed cases COVID-19 In Britain, Professor Sharon realized the need to expand its ability to analyze the genetic makeup of the peacock virus.

The Cambridge University microbiologist understands that genetic sequencing is important for fighting disease, controlling outbreaks, and developing vaccines. So he started working with colleagues across the country to come up with a plan. In one month, the government paid 20 million ($ 28 million) for his work.

The initiative helped change United Kingdom World leader in rapid analysis of genetic material from a large number of patients COVID-19, Responsible for more than 40 percent of the genetic sequences identified to date. Their priority is to find new, more dangerous or resistant variants of vaccines that will enable researchers to change vaccines or develop new ones to fight a virus that is constantly mutating.

Said Dr. Eric Topol, head of innovative medicine at Scripps Research in San Diego, California.

DNA sequencing is basically the process of identifying an organism’s unique genetic makeup, in which case the virus COVID-19. Although this technique has already been used to study everything from cancer to food poisoning outbreaks or the flu virus, this is the first time authorities have used it to track global epidemics in real time.

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The 62-year-old Peacock has been at the forefront of efforts to rank the UK as CEO and President of the British Genetic Federation. COVID-19, (Called COG-UK For its summary in English), the team that helped create it a year ago.

In the first week of this month, COG-UK deployed 13,117 viruses, compared to 260 in its first 12 days in March last year, according to weekly data on the group’s website.

Professor Sharon Peacock highlights UK in genetic testing for COVID-19. Photo: Frank Austin, A.P.

Behind that increase is an organization that combines genetic sequencing science with the resources of the British National Health Organization.

Positive models in COVID-19 Hospitals and diagnostic tests are sent to a network of 17 laboratories, where scientists extract genetic material from each fabric and analyze it to identify the unique genetic code of the virus. That information is cross-referenced with public health data to better understand how, where, and why the disease is spread.

When viral mutations correspond to an increase in cases without any other explanation, it is a clue that a new variant is in circulation in that area to be monitored.

The importance of genetic sequencing became clear last year when infections began to skyrocket in the southeast of the UK. Despite stringent local restrictions, new infections continued to rise, with public health officials investigating why.

By analyzing genetic data, scientists have identified a new variant with diffusion features.

Armed with that information, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a new isolation, which changed the strategy of local controls that failed to contain the new variant.

That detective work is important, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack because researchers have to search the genetic sequences of thousands of harmless variants to find rare but dangerous ones, Peacock said.

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“It is important for us to understand what varieties are in circulation in the UK and around the world, so its implications for vaccine development and how to tailor vaccines,” he explained.

This work is a global collaboration in which more than 120 countries submit footage to GISAID, the first data-sharing center created to detect influenza viruses.

Iceland, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark have the highest percentage of their cases COVID-19 Denmark does it faster than Great Britain. But COG-UK’s work, along with the large number and number of cases in the UK, makes it the world leader in genetic sequencing. COVID-19. The UK submitted 379,294 of the nearly 898,000 entries in the GISAID database.

Even in advanced countries like Denmark, scientists use tools developed in the UK to analyze their own data, said Mats Albertson, a professor at the University of Danish Alborg who is part of the genetic sequencing efforts in the country.

“The whole mechanism is what Britain has done best so far,” Albertson said. “So they have a lot of researchers and a very professional framework on how to use the data.”

The United States is also trying to learn from Britain as the Biden administration returns to the unscientific policies of its predecessors, which has slowed down continuous efforts in the country, according to Topol of Scrips Research. Representatives from COG-UK recently participated in a call with U.S. researchers and the Rockefeller Foundation aimed at expanding U.S. capability.

“You have to admit that Peacock and the team are not just controlled by the way they rank themselves,” Topol said. “They set up labs to do this other work, which is really very serious laboratory research. There is also epidemiological analysis. So everything has to go through all the steps.”

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British sequencing process based on the foundations of sophisticated genetic research in Britain from the works of James Watson, Francis Crick and Rosaling Franklin, who are credited with discovering the chemical structure of DNA. Other British scientists developed early sequencing techniques and then developed the technology, which reduced the time and cost required.

That success attracted investment, and in 1992 the Wellcome Trust decided to create the Singer Center to help map the human genome, which expanded the field of knowledge in the UK. The British National Health Service provided data for experts to study.

His colleagues say Peacock deserves credit for his success COG-UK, She wants to highlight the work of others.

In a major organizing effort, he formed the country’s DNA detective team based on goodwill and chat groups. Leading scientists should set aside their ego and education rivalries and work together to fight the epidemic, said Andrew Page, a computer analyst at Pathogenetic Genetics who works with COG-UK.

Peacock’s missions in this project have earned him the disgrace and the unofficial title of hunting commander. But she prefers a simple word.

“I think a scientist is doing everything he can to help people control the epidemic in Britain and elsewhere,” he said. “Maybe there’s a better phrase for it, but works of science.”