CDC, Alissa Ecker/MS and Dan Higgins/MAMS

COVID-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

Parasites and Microbes

Our team is building a comprehensive COVID-19 genomic surveillance programme.

We will provide real-time genomic monitoring of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the UK, aiding public health officials in their response to the coronavirus. We will also monitor the virus for genetic mutations which could cause it to be more easily transmitted or to escape vaccines.

As part of COG-UK, the Sanger Institute is sequencing the genomes of tens of thousands of coronavirus samples, from people in communities across the country. Our group combines statistical and computational expertise to analyse those genomes, and detect outbreaks – for example where the virus may have been passed on at a super-spreading event. We are working closely with public health authorities and the UK government to integrate this data with their work. Identifying super-spreading events as quickly as possible will help public health officials respond a little bit sooner. We hope that many small improvements to the speed of our response will collectively help avoid the need for long national lockdowns.

We are also monitoring the virus genome sequence for any mutations which could affect how a vaccine works, once it is introduced. These data are the input to COG-UK efforts to characterise and assess any new mutation in the virus, and understand their effects.

Core team

Photo of Dr Roberto Amato

Dr Roberto Amato

Head of Data Analysis and Translation

Photo of Dr Frank Schwach

Dr Frank Schwach

Senior Computational Biologist

Photo of Mr Matthew Sinnott

Mr Matthew Sinnott

Genomic Surveillance Data Analyst

Photo of Georgia Elizabeth Whitton

Georgia Elizabeth Whitton

Junior Genomic Surveillance Data Analyst


We work with the following groups