On May 20, 2020, the American Society for Microbiology hosted a virtual briefing titled "CDC SPHERES Program: Harnessing the Power of Genomics to Bolster our COVID-19 Response."

The SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing for Public Health Emergency Response, Epidemiology and Surveillance (SPHERES) program is a new national genomics consortium that will coordinate SARS-CoV-2 sequencing across the United States. Large-scale, rapid genomic sequencing of the virus that causes COVID-19 will allow public health experts to do the following:
  • Monitor important changes in the virus as it continues to circulate.
  • Gain important insights to support contact tracing.
  • Provide crucial information to aid in identifying diagnostic and therapeutic targets for the virus.
  • Advance public health research in the areas of transmission dynamics, host response and evolution of the virus.
With extensive participation from U.S. clinical microbiology and public health laboratories, academic institutions and the private sector, the SPHERES consortium aims to generate information about the virus that will strengthen COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Leading this unique partnership is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) program, which over the past 6 years has invested in federal, state and local public health laboratories to expand the use of pathogen genomics and other advances.


Special guests included Gregory Armstrong, M.D., the Director of the Advanced Molecular Detection Office at the CDC and Duncan MacCannell, Ph.D., who is the Chief Science Officer of Advanced Molecular Detection at the CDC.

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Contact Information

ASM Advocacy, advocacy@asmusa.org