COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium

The current COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, represents a major threat to health. The COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium has been created to deliver large-scale and rapid whole-genome virus sequencing to local NHS centres and the UK government.

COG-UK is made up of an innovative partnership of NHS organisations, the four Public Health Agencies of the UK, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and over twelve academic partners providing sequencing and analysis capacity.

COG-UK is supported by £20 million funding from the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, administered by UK Research and Innovation.

The virus genome data is combined with clinical and epidemiological datasets in order to help to guide UK public health interventions and policies. The subsequent analysis will permit evaluation of the effectiveness of novel treatments and non-pharmacological interventions on SARS-CoV-2 populations and spread. It will provide information on whether or not outbreaks are due to introductions from outside or ongoing transmission within the community. The data will also enable researchers to identify and understand genetic changes that affect how easily the virus is passed on and the severity of the symptoms it causes. Finally, the information help us target the development of treatments and vaccines and monitor their impact as they are introduced.

Viruses sequenced