The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is forecasting plans to fund in 2022 the establishment of multiple Public Health Pathogen Genomics Centers of Excellence. These partnerships between academic and public health organizations will foster innovation in pathogen genomics and molecular epidemiology to improve the control of, and response to, microbial threats of public health importance.
In April 2021, the Biden Administration committed $1.7 Billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan to bolster the nation’s ability to detect, monitor and mitigate emerging COVID-19 variants. An essential component of the response is increasing the country’s genomic sequencing — the process by which COVID DNA is decoded and potentially deadly mutations in the virus are detected.
In early February 2021, U.S. laboratories were only sequencing about 8,000 COVID-19 strains per week. Since then, the rate of sequencing has increased substantially, strengthening the country’s ability to detect and respond to variants of concern. The Biden Administration has already made a nearly $200 million investment to help increase genomic sequencing to 29,000 samples per week by April 2021.
Additional funding allocations for genomic epidemiology, including this effort, will improve U.S. genomic surveillance and pandemic preparedness and response infrastructure.
US Public Health Pathogen Genomics Centers of Excellence. Opportunity Number: RFA-CK-22-007. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Estimated Open Date: 2 Feb 2022. Estimated Application Due Date: 3 April 2022.