WHO released its publication, Genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2: a guide to implementation for maximum impact on public health, on 8 January 2021.
As the genomes of SARS-CoV-2 are able to be sequenced almost within real time, this enables increased speed to inform public health responses.
This has led to more laboratories investing in viral genome sequencing. Before starting such a programme, however, the intended goals of sequencing must be understood and a strategy for analysis in place, as well as a plan for how findings will be used.
Decisions about sequencing goals should be made in a multidisciplinary framework that includes representatives of all stakeholders. Funding sources must also be identified, and ethical aspects evaluated.
To maximize public health impact, usable and timely results need to be produced and communicated.
This document, available in English and Portuguese, provides this type of guidance for laboratories on maximizing the impact of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing activities now and in the future.