UK to Support the Rest of the World to Find COVID-19 Variants

CREDIT: Martin Sanchez/ Unsplash

THE UK is Set to Support Rest of the World to Find COVID-19 Variants

The UK said it will offer its world-leading genomics expertise to identify new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 to countries who do not have the resources to do so.

The announcement comes as part of a speech the Health Secretary will deliver at Chatham House. As part of the UK’s presidency of the G7 this year, the Health Secretary will outline 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.

Countries will be offered the UK’s capacity to analyse new strains of the virus through the launch of the New Variant Assessment Platform which will be led by Public Health England (PHE) working with NHS Test and Trace and academic partners as well as the World Health Organisation’s SARS-CoV-2 Global Laboratory Working Group.

This supports the Prime Minister’s 5-point plan, as outlined at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) last year, to protect humanity from another pandemic through a shared approach to global health security.

In due course, it will be led by the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) and will involve PHE laboratories and staff as well as academic partner capabilities.

They will be working directly on samples provided from abroad or will provide expert advice and support remotely where the partner country already has some capabilities in this area but requests further assistance. The offer could include training and resources as well as personnel and equipment.

Countries will be able to apply for assistance by contacting the World Health Organization where an existing channel does not already exist with the UK.

This vital work will combat the spread of coronavirus by identifying more COVID-19 variants around the world to keep the global community one step ahead of any mutations.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “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 neighbours, but the health of people across the world.

“The new variants of coronavirus have demonstrated this once again so we must work to promote health security right across the world.

“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.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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