About the COG-UK Consortium
A welcome from our Executive Director and Chair, Professor Sharon Peacock
Welcome to the COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK) consortium website. We hope it provides an informative and engaging platform to find out more about the consortium’s incredible work in generating SARS-CoV-2 sequences and analysis to support the worldwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our achievements to date, both in the volumes of data produced and the impact on human health, have far outpaced anything we thought possible when setting up the consortium in April 2020. By the end of April 2021, COG-UK had sequenced more than 450,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, provided data on viral transmission and introduction in care homes, universities, hospitals and through international travel, enabled the tracking and analysis of viral variants and developed freely available bioinformatics and data sharing tools.
Key to our success has been the breadth, quality and sheer hard work of our members across all of the partners making up the collaboration: the four Public Health Agencies of the UK, numerous academic institutional partners across the four nations, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and diagnostic laboratory partners including the Lighthouse Labs and multiple NHS laboratories.
Underpinning all our activities have been our shared values of transparency, open access data release and collaborative working between public health, research and the NHS.
A long-term goal for us when we first began as a consortium was to facilitate the development of a sustainable sequencing network across the UK. Having provided the knowledge, expertise, and facilities to set up UK-wide SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing and analysis, we are now in the process of passing this know-how on to the UK Health Security Agency to facilitate the creation of a national pathogen genomics service. It is a tremendous achievement that this legacy is coming to pass.
Now is also the time as a research consortium to refocus our time and energies in two key areas of our original mission. We will continue to create novel tools and analyse the unprecedented viral genomic dataset generated to date, advancing our understanding of the evolution and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during the current pandemic and informing global responses to future viral threats. We will also share the knowledge and experiences gained from our efforts to date to support the establishment or expansion of SARS-COV-2 programmes in other countries worldwide.
In addition, we will also be building on the position of COG-UK as part of a wider science ecosystem in the UK. We are extensively networked with other scientific disciplines, groups, and initiatives, including national core studies. Details of our collaborative partners can be found here. The network of individuals and organisations assembled during the pandemic will provide the scientific breadth and depth required to tackle future national and international threats. The many hundreds of dedicated and brilliant COG-UK members stand ready to partner with others in such future efforts.