How CDC is responding to SARS-CoV-2 variants globally
A new SARS-CoV-2 variant has one or more mutations that differentiate it from predominant virus variants already circulating among the general population. Variants are expected to occur as viruses are constantly changing. Surveillance can help investigate how some variants may impact COVID-19 disease transmission or severity and the effectiveness of vaccines and therapeutics.
CDC works with partners around the world to respond to the pandemic. As part of these efforts, CDC is working to expand the capacity to detect and respond to newly identified variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Data as of February 23, 2021
CDC’s global activities
Expanding sequencing capacity
Sequencing is a laboratory technique that is used to read the genetic code and identify variants of SARS-CoV-2. CDC is working with more than 20 countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe to establish or expand sequencing capacity so that more samples of SARS-CoV-2, including variants, can be identified, characterized, and reported.
Collaborating with partners
CDC supports the global COVID-19 response through collaborations with the World Health Organization (WHO), Ministries of Health, academic and research institutions, and other organizations in order to track the rapidly evolving situation of variants. Links for additional information on variants can be found below:
- Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Situation Reports (who.int)external icon
- PANGO lineages (cov-lineages.org)external icon
It’s important to learn as much as possible about the characteristics of new variants, wherever they are detected. CDC is providing guidance about field- and laboratory-based studies that help provide critical information about variants.
Supporting the response
Some variants have the ability to spread quickly and the presence of variants is leading to increased numbers of cases in some settings and placing strain on the healthcare systems. CDC is supporting the response by working to improve access to testing, building capacity for surveillance of variants, and studying SARS-CoV-2 to understand how changes to the virus might affect how it spreads and what happens to people who are infected with it.
Learn more about US COVID-19 Cases Caused by Variants