The UK launched has recently announced the launch of a New Variant Assessment Platform aimed at offering the countrys world class expertise in genomics for identifying new variants of the virus that leads to COVID 19 to the nations that do not have the required resources for the same.
With the UKs Presidency of the G7 this year, UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has outlined his vision for a stronger, more collaborative, and effective global health system, not just in fighting the COVID 19 pandemic, but to ensure the international community is better prepared for future threats, during his speech at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
Speaking of this new platform, it will not only help in better understanding this virus and how it spreads but will also enhance global capability in this field, so that the world is better prepared for the future.
According to the sources of knowledge, countries will be provided with UK capacity for analyzing new strains of the virus through the platform, led by Public Health England (PHE) in collaboration with NHS Test and Trace and academic partners, as well as SARS COV 2 Global Laboratory Working Group by World Health Organization. Eventually, it will be led by the National Institute for Health Protection and will include PHE laboratories, staff, and academic partner capabilities.
Meanwhile, Director of Public Health Englands National Infection Service, Dr Isabel Oliver stated that the virus is likely to evolve over time and certain mutations could possibly lead to a faster spread of the virus, making people sicker or possibly affecting the working of vaccines. Genomic testing, in this regard, is an important part of the efforts to control the virus, as it helps in monitoring how the virus is changing and putting together an appropriate response in time.
This platform will provide PHEs cutting-edge science to the countries having very less or no ability to sequence and analyze COVID 19 virus strains. Moreover, it will give early warnings regarding new variants emerging across the world which might jeopardize the UK, Oliver added.
Reportedly, the platform will work directly on samples obtained from abroad or will offer expert advice as well as remote support where the partner country already has some capabilities in this area but requires further assistance.