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US setting up $1.7B national network to track virus variants

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration says the U.S. is setting up a $1.7 billion national network to identify and track worrisome coronavirus mutations whose spread could trigger another pandemic wave.

White House officials Friday unveiled a strategy featuring three components: a major funding boost for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments to ramp up gene-mapping of coronavirus samples; the creation of six “centers of excellence” partnerships with universities to conduct research and develop technologies for gene-based surveillance of pathogens; and building a data system to better share and analyze information on emerging disease threats.

The effort relies on money approved by Congress as part of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package.

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Associated Press

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