4 Michigan universities to receive $18.5M in funding to expand infectious disease research

COVID-19 omicron
Posted at 4:32 PM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 16:36:52-05

(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that four universities in the state will be receiving $18.5 million in federal funding over the next two years to expand sequencing for COVID and other infectious diseases.

According to a MDHHS press release, the funding will be distributed to Michigan Tech University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan and Wayne State University .

The funding would reportedly be used “to collect and analyze genomic data to address emerging infectious disease threats and enhance the state’s ability to respond to those threats.”

MDHHS received a CDC Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity funding grant for the Michigan Sequencing Academic Partnership for Public Health Innovation and Response (MI-SAPPHIRE).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance and need for genomic sequencing, surveillance and epidemiology capacity both globally and right here in Michigan,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director in a press release. “The MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories has rapidly expanded its efforts to identify COVID-19 variants since the start of the pandemic to support public health actions. MI-SAPPHIRE will allow our state to expand sequencing and analysis capacity and the number of pathogens that undergo routine sequencing, and ensure we are sampling diverse geographic areas across the state.”

The MDHHS notes their laboratory has sequenced 23,000 COVID-19 samples since March of 2020.

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