“That is about each doing the close to time period work of supporting sequencing but additionally actually constructing out that infrastructure,” Ms. Johnson mentioned.
In February, the Biden administration put ahead $200 million as a “down payment” on a extra strong surveillance program, with the purpose of sequencing 29,000 samples weekly. Officers described it as an early step in constructing out the federal authorities’s capability to sequence extra samples.
Earlier this month, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the C.D.C. director, said that the B.1.1.7 variant, which is at present estimated to be about 60 percent more contagious and 67 percent extra deadly than the unique model, had develop into the most typical supply of latest infections in the US. The C.D.C. has additionally been monitoring the unfold of different variants, similar to B.1.351, first present in South Africa, and P.1, which was first recognized in Brazil.
Ms. Johnson mentioned that the funding would assist well being officers throughout the nation reply to outbreaks in a extra subtle method, together with by surging testing in sure areas or contemplating new mitigation methods.
When B.1.1.7 was first detected in the US on the finish of December, specialists warned that the nation was poorly ready to trace coronavirus variants, missing a nationwide plan for accumulating samples and analyzing their mutations to find out the variants’ unfold.
In January, the US was sequencing samples from lower than 1 p.c of optimistic coronavirus exams. Researchers mentioned that merely wasn’t sufficient data to understand how frequent variants actually have been and the way rapidly they have been spreading. Against this, Britain, the world’s chief in genomic surveillance, was sequencing as much as 10 p.c of latest optimistic exams.
Over the previous three months, the C.D.C. has charted a gentle rise within the variety of coronavirus genomes sequenced weekly in the US, recording a brand new excessive of 14,837 for the week ending April 10. The quantity represented about three p.c of the nation’s optimistic exams that week.