The U.K. will share its sequencing capability with other countries, in order to boost the tracking of coronavirus variants on a global level.
According to prereleased excerpts, seen by Reuters, of his Tuesday speech for the Chatham House think tank, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock will announce that any country having concerns over a potential new variant will be able to send samples to British labs, so that it can be sequenced and identified.
Hancock is expected to provide insight into the decision to export Britain’s sequencing capabilities.
“This pandemic has shown that the foundations of so many of the exciting experiences that make life worth living are contingent not just on our health, or the health of our neighbors, but the health of people across the world,” the speech reads — promoting the move as a package of the U.K.’s G7 presidency in 2021.
“Our New Variant Assessment Platform will help us better understand this virus and how it spreads, and will also boost global capacity to understand coronavirus, so we’re all better prepared for whatever lies ahead.”
The move comes after reports of emerging variants in different locations around the globe, with particular interest around those discovered in the U.K., South Africa, Brazil and recently Germany — prompting fresh concerns over potential vaccine immunity or even a higher mortality rate.
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