The AMD program has played a pivotal role in our nation’s response to COVID-19 through efforts to identify, track and take necessary steps to mitigate emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Even prior to the current pandemic, the program brought cutting-edge technology to the front lines of public health. Thanks to supplemental investments made by Congress, national sequence-based surveillance - with systematic sampling of viruses from state and local public health laboratories and in partnership with hospital-based, academic and independent laboratories - provides a picture of circulating pathogens, patterns in transmission and introduction and context for investigations and mitigation efforts to better respond to and prepare for pandemics.
We must continue to do more and build out the infrastructure necessary for genomic sequencing and surveillance not only for future pathogens with pandemic potential, but also for foodborne illnesses, resistant pathogens and seasonal threats like influenza. Significantly boosting U.S. genetic surveillance and viral sequencing is key to moving beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and effectively responding to future challenges associated with novel and evolving infectious diseases, seasonal threats, antimicrobial resistance and foodborne pathogens.
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