The UK government on Wednesday announced that it would provide genomic sequencing support to Pakistan to help identify, assess and track new variants of the novel coronavirus.
The UK government announced a new package of genomic sequencing support to help Pakistan’s fight against new variants of COVID-19.
Through the New Variant Assessment Platform (NVAP) programme, Pakistan will be able to draw on UK expertise and support to detect quickly new, and potentially more dangerous, variants of COVID-19.
An agreement has been signed between National Institute for Health (NIH) and UK’s Public Health England (PHE). Through an agreement, reached between two countries, the UK will share its expertise and provide reagents to increase genomic sequencing capacity in Pakistan.
The support will also include technical advice on bio-informatics workflow and technical processes.
British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Dr Christian Turner in a statement said: “Sharing world-class UK science expertise with Pakistan will help detecting new COVID variants of concern and keep fighting this pandemic.”
The UK is a world leader in genomic sequencing for COVID variants and the second-largest contributor to the international database for the variants.
The New Variant Assessment Platform (NVAP) is a programme announced by the Secretary of State for Health in January 2021. Its aim is to offer the UK support globally for SARS-CoV-2 new variant identification to countries that wish to monitor the variants circulating in their population but do not themselves have the capability to identify these variants.
What is Genomic Surveillance?
Viruses are constantly changing, and this includes SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These genetic variations occur over time and can lead to the emergence of new variants that may have different characteristics.
The SARS-CoV-2 genome encodes instructions organized into sections, called genes, to build the virus. Scientists use a process called genomic sequencing to decode the genes and learn more about the virus.
Genomic sequencing allows scientists to identify SARS-CoV-2 and monitor how it changes over time into new variants, understand how these changes affect the characteristics of the virus, and use this information to better understand how it might impact health.
Originally published at Ary news