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The challenge

In April 2020, Genome Canada launched the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN). The role of CanCOGeN is to establish a coordinated pan-Canadian, cross-agency network for large-scale SARS-CoV-2 and human host sequencing to track viral origin, spread and evolution, characterize the role of human genetics in COVID-19 disease and to inform time-sensitive critical decision making relevant to health authorities across Canada during the pandemic. The network will further contribute to building national capacity to address future outbreaks and pandemics.

CanCOGeN is a Genome Canada-led consortium of Canadian federal, provincial and regional public health authorities and their healthcare partners, academia, industry, hospitals, research institutes and large-scale sequencing centres.

Mobilizing the power of genomics to tackle COVID-19

Generating accessible and usable genomics data to inform policy and public health decisions.


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Sequencing up to 150,000 viral genomes
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Sequencing up to 10,000 host genomes
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Coordinating data analysis and sharing
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Building genomics lab capacity across Canada
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Lab work.

Sequencing up to 150,000 viral samples from people testing positive for COVID-19, we hope to improve tracking of how the virus is changing and spreading, providing key data on virus transmission trends and changes in the virus that may impact viral detection or the effectiveness of treatments or vaccines.

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Sequencing the genomes of up to 10,000 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 (the “hosts”), we hope to better understand how the virus impacts individuals in different ways in hopes of better understanding patterns and trends amongst certain individuals.