UK launches large-scale genome sequencing study to improve treatment for COVID-19

  13 May 2020    Read: 925
UK launches large-scale genome sequencing study to improve treatment for COVID-19

The UK government on Wednesday announced in a statement the launch of a large-scale human genome sequencing study, which is set to establish whether a person's genetics can influence susceptibility to the coronavirus.

"A major new human whole-genome sequencing study will take place across the NHS [National Health Service], involving up to 20,000 people currently or previously in an intensive care unit with coronavirus, as well as 15,000 individuals who have mild or moderate symptoms. Genomics England, is partnering with the GenOMICC consortium, Illumina and the NHS to launch the research drive, which will reach patients in 170 intensive care units throughout the UK," the statement read.

The project is supported by 28 million pounds ($34.3 million) from Genomics England, UK Research and Innovation, the Department of Health and Social Care and the National Institute for Health Research, the statement said.

"This is a ground-breaking and far-reaching study which will harness the UK’s world-leading genomics science to improve treatments and ultimately save lives across the world," UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said, as quoted by the statement.

The study is set to help in identifying people most susceptible to the disease and fast-tracking new therapies into clinical trials.

"This ground-breaking research may help explain why some patients with coronavirus experience a mild infection, others require intensive care and why some patients die from the disease," the statement added.

The UK has so far confirmed 226,463 COVID-19 cases and 32,692 related deaths.

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