Capacity for genomic sequencing grows in Latin America and Caribbean with training and equipment provided by PAHO

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Understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 virus is evolving using whole genome sequencing has allowed countries to launch life-saving public health measures such as rapidly increasing oxygen supply to handle surges of COVID-19 patients. However, when the pandemic first emerged in 2020, only two Latin American countries – Brazil and Chile – had public laboratories capable of this essential process. In response, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) initiated the COVID-19 Regional Genomic Surveillance Network (COVIGEN), which promotes expansion of genomic sequencing capacity in Latin America and the Caribbean.