The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tapped LabCorp to help conduct a large-scale genomic study tracking new mutations in the COVID-19 virus—after a fast-spreading variant, first identified in the U.K., has recently surfaced on U.S. shores. The public health agency plans to collect random samples from across the country, to provide a baseline that will enable national and state-level surveillance programs to hone in on emerging cases.
With the addition of LabCorp’s facilities, the CDC said it aims to more than double the number of genomic samples sequenced per week. “Better decision making starts with better data, and we are eager to help the CDC in its effort to improve the nation’s understanding of this virus and how to effectively fight it,” LabCorp Chief Scientific Officer Marcia Eisenberg, Ph.D., said. “This sequencing survey is a critical project to ensure our knowledge of COVID-19 improves even as the virus may mutate and change.”
U.S. CDC Says Priority COVID-19 Vaccination Groups May Overlap
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said phases of vaccinating priority groups against COVID-19 may overlap, clarifying guidance that many states are already applying as a way to get shots to as many Americans as possible.The CDC has said healthcare workers and nursing home residents should have priority for vaccines, to be followed by people over 75 and essential workers. On Friday, the CDC changed its website to underscore that these phases may overlap, essentially greenlighting what many states are already doing.
Every state has its own plan for vaccine distribution, with little oversight and involvement from the federal government. This week, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the CDC’s priority recommendations were just that, and should not get in the way of getting shots to Americans.