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Much of US data to catch newest coronavirus variants is several months old

January 11, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 41.5%. 2 min read.

As part of the hunt for new coronavirus variants, an international database shows the United States ranks 61st in how quickly virus samples are collected from patients, analyzed and then posted online.

(CNN)As part of the hunt for new coronavirus variants, an international database shows the United States ranks 61st in how quickly virus samples are collected from patients, analyzed and then posted online.

The median number of days from the time a sample is collected from a patient's nose until the time its genetic sequence is posted on GISAID, an independent data sharing initiative, is 85 days, according an analysis of GISAID data by the Broad Institute of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The United Kingdom, one of the fastest countries at posting genetic sequencing, takes 24 days.

GISAID is a "repository for genomic data that's generated for many purposes, including genomic surveillance (those samples tend to have short turn-around times) and research projects (which have quite variable intervals from sample collection to submission)," Dr. Gregory Armstrong, director of the Office of Advanced Molecular Detection at the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, wrote in an email to CNN.

In the United States, labs at the CDC, state health departments, private companies and universities submit sequences to GISAID.

The United States has been criticized not just for being late, but for sequencing too few virus samples considering how rampant the virus has been in the country.

The United States has mapped and posted samples from nearly 70,000 people with Covid-19, according to GISAID.

It's posted 2. 8 genetic sequences per 1,000 cases, falling behind 34 other countries, according to the GISAID data.

At the end of last year, the United States was sequencing about 3,000 samples per week.

In the week of January 2-8, 10,619 samples were sequenced by labs in the United States, Armstrong said.

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