The Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN
) led by Genome Canada is making significant progress in sequencing the genome of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in samples from across the country. One of the keys to the success is getting the support and the co-operation of federal, provincial and regional public health authorities and their healthcare partners, academia, industry, hospitals, research institutes, and large-scale sequencing centres.
That is a tall order. Genome Alberta’s Chief Scientific Officer Gijs van Rooijen notes that “Considering that health is a provincial jurisdiction, every province has its unique approach to deliver the best healthcare and pandemic response. Because SARS-CoV-2 spreads rapidly, whatever happens outside of provincial borders will affect the way other provinces prepare for what could be arriving at their doorsteps. Through CanCOGeN, sequence information on SARS-COV2 and its associated variants are being shared nationally and internationally which provides essential information for tracking and managing the COVID-19 outbreak”.
Catalina Lopez-Correa is the Executive Director of CanCOGeN and in the first part of her conversation
with freelance broadcaster Don Hill she talked about how the sequencing effort has rolled out across the country. In part 2 of our conversation, she talks about the importance of national and international collaboration and sharing of data – something CanCOGeN has shown is an effective approach.