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White House Announces Nearly $2 Billion Plan to Track Variants

Andy Slavitt, a White House pandemic adviser, announced a $1.7 billion plan on Friday to bolster the nation’s ability to monitor coronavirus variants through genomic sequencing.

Even as we accelerate our efforts to get shots in arms, more dangerous variants are growing, causing increases in cases with people without immunity. This increases the urgency for you to get vaccinated, but it also requires us to intensify our efforts to quickly test for and find genetic sequence of the virus as it spreads. Today, we are announcing a $1.7 billion investment to bolster the ability of the C.D.C., and state and local public health departments to monitor, track and defeat emerging threats, whether it’s Covid-19 variants today or other viruses in the future, through a process known as genomic sequencing. This significant investment, which is made possible due to the American Rescue Plan President Biden signed into law last month, is critical in our fight against the new and potentially dangerous variants of Covid-19. Right now, these variants account for nearly half of all Covid-19 cases in the United States, and we need more capacity in our public health system to identify and track these mutations. State and local public health departments are on the front lines of beating back the pandemic, but they need more capacity to detect these variants early on before dangerous outbreaks. This funding will enable C.D.C. and states to do more genomic sequencing as we activate the nation’s great research capabilities to detect variants earlier and increase our visibility into emerging threats. This investment will give public health officials the chance to react more quickly to prevent and stop the spread.

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