EU and US take steps to battle coronavirus mutations

Electron microscopic image from the first confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 in the U.S. Image from CDC.

The EU recently added clauses to COVID-19 vaccine contracts to prioritize vaccines that are effective against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Meanwhile, a U.S. House bill that would provide $1.75 billion for genomic sequencing of coronavirus samples is scheduled for floor debate and the Senate is considering similar legislation.

The UK variant (B.1.1.7) that is spreading across Europe and the U.S. is more infectious and possibly more dangerous than earlier strains and could become dominant in the U.S. by March, according to CDC projections. Even more potentially threatening are the South Africa (B.1.351) and Brazil (P.1) variants, which are also spreading in both regions.

The U.K. helped the world understand the threat of B.1.1.7 with its sizable genomic sequencing apparatus. The country has sequenc…

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