The CDC’s national genomic surveillance program identifies new and emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants to determine implications for COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments, or vaccines authorized for use in the United States. Monitoring the spread of emerging variants in the United States relies on widespread, rapid sequencing. To accelerate sequencing in the United States, CDC has contracted with commercial diagnostic laboratories and, in partnership with the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), has implemented the National SARS-CoV-2 Strain Surveillance (NS3) program to provide a comprehensive and population-based US surveillance system.
Based on this data, sequences with similar genetic changes associated with important epidemiological and biological events are grouped into lineages. A viral lineage is a group of viruses defined by a founding variant and its descendants. The proportion of lineages circulating in the United States are tracked and characterized to determine if they are considered variants of concern (VOC) or variants of interest (VOI). Most of the lineages identified through genomic surveillance do not fall into either of these categories. This data, along with data from many other sources, are used to inform national and state public health actions related to variants.
These partnerships are critically important as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Information and research are shared on this site to keep us informed.
Stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!