UK’s New Variant Assessment Platform

The United Kingdom has launched a New Variant Assessment Platform on January 26. This new platform will offer the UK’s world-leading genomics expertise to countries with fewer resources for identifying new variants of the COVID-19 virus.

Key Points

  • The UK has launched a New Variant Assessment Platform to help countries in finding new variants of coronavirus.
  • The genomics expertise from the UK will be offered to countries through the launch of the platform led by Public Health England (PHE), in association with NHS Test and Trace and academic partners and the SARS-CoV-2 Global Laboratory Working Group of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • In due course, it will be led by the National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP) and will include PHE laboratories, staff, and academic partner capabilities.
  • The platform will bring the cutting edge science of the UK to countries with less ability or resources to sequence and analyze COVID-19 virus strains.
  • The platform will also provide early warning of new variants of the COVID-19 virus emerging around the world that might endanger the UK.
  • The platform will directly work on samples provided by other countries or will provide expert advice as necessary.
  • Countries, where an existing channel is not available with the UK, can apply for assistance by contacting the WHO.

It should be noted that more than half of all SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences submitted to the global database have already been carried out by the UK.  This capability has helped the scientists from PHE to identify the variant in southern England, Kent, and informing measures. The main aim of this new platform is to control the spread of the virus with the help of the UK’s genomic expertise.