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B.C. scientists to begin genetic sequencing on Canadians with COVID-19

Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) at BC Cancer will be one of four Canadian institutions on the forefront of using genome science to understand how different people respond to COVID-19 infection.
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​The GSC will use cutting-edge technology to look at the DNA of 10,000 Canadians who have tested positive for COVID-19. Researchers expect to identify if there are differences between people who have mild symptoms versus those who have severe symptoms and generally how the virus affects people differently. These findings will help better inform public health policy to help keep Canadians safe by helping to better assess, triage and treat the most vulnerable COVID-19 patients.

“Scientists at the GSC were among the first in the world to sequence the SARS coronavirus genome in 2003. Today’s announcement of funding will further Canada’s significant contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms of coronavirus infection and disease prognosis,” said Dr. Steven Jones, Co-Director & Head of Bioinformatics at the GSC. 

The GSC is hosted at the BC Cancer Research Institute and is part of a network of genome sequencing centres, known as CGEn, which, in addition to the Provincial Health Services Authority and the University of British Columbia includes The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and McGill University in Montréal.

On April 23, it was announced that CGEn will receive $20 million to sequence 10,000 Canadians that have tested positive for COVID-19.

BC Cancer
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