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MI universities get funding for virus genome sequencing efforts

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ANN ARBOR, MI (MPRN)— Four Michigan universities will join the statewide effort to track new infectious disease variants, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

State health officials say Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Wayne State, and the University of Michigan will split a federal grant to boost genomic sequencing capacity.

They’ll start with sequencing COVID samples and branch out to other diseases from there.

Marty Soehnlen is head of the infectious diseases division of the state’s public health lab. She says genomic sequencing is a key tool for public health efforts.

“It allows you to be able to see things at a very fine detail. Be able to see how the changes within a virus or bacteria will lead to problems with treatment or diagnostic tests.”

Soehnlen says the university collaboration will massively expand the state’s ability to sequence highly-infectious pathogens.