Two years of genomic surveillance in Belgium during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic to attain country-wide coverage and monitor the introduction and spread of emerging variants

COVID-19 Genomics Belgium Consortium

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Abstract

An adequate SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance strategy has proven to be essential for countries to obtain a thorough understanding of the variants and lineages being imported and successfully established within their borders. During 2020, genomic surveillance in Belgium was not structurally implemented but performed by individual research laboratories that had to acquire the necessary funds themselves to perform this important task. At the start of 2021, a nationwide genomic surveillance consortium was established in Belgium to markedly increase the country's genomic sequencing efforts (both in terms of intensity and representativeness), to perform quality control among participating laboratories, and to enable coordination and collaboration of research projects and publications. We here discuss the genomic surveillance efforts in Belgium before and after the establishment of its genomic sequencing consortium, provide an overview of the specifics of the consortium, and explore more details regarding the scientific studies that have been published as a result of the increased number of Belgian SARS-CoV-2 genomes that have become available.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2301
JournalViruses
Volume14
Issue number10
Number of pages19
ISSN1999-4915
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Belgium/epidemiology
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Genome, Viral
  • Genomics
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2/genetics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing

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