The pandemic showed the power of viral sequencing. Now the U.K. plans to decode other respiratory bugs

Building on the global boom in viral surveillance during the pandemic, U.K. scientists on Tuesday unveiled an initiative to expand sequencing of the common seasonal respiratory bugs that have received comparatively little attention.

The Respiratory Virus & Microbiome Initiative, launched and funded by the Wellcome Sanger Institute, will track the evolution not just of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, but also other coronaviruses, different flu families, RSV, and other pathogens that typically just cause the sniffles but collectively lead to waves of illness every year. Researchers hope the initiative will enable them to better monitor viruses in the U.K. as they change, alert them to any worrisome mutations, and get tipped to the emergence of new viruses.

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