OREANDA-NEWS. Gaps in global efforts to track coronavirus variants make it difficult not only to track early cases of infection with the omicron strain, but also to identify new mutations, writes the Financial Times, citing Peter Bogner, founder of the international virus genome database GISAID.

“We are operating blindly in large parts of the world, many of which are under-vaccinated,” Bogner said.

The tools needed to sequence genomes are reportedly concentrated in wealthier countries. This means that large parts of the globe are not being tracked properly. Over 80% of the more than 5 million Sars-Cov-2 genomes uploaded to the GISAID database came from two continents: North America and Europe.

According to the publication, many experts admit that even if the rest of the world tries to increase its capabilities in the issue of genomic sequencing accordingly, the lack of the necessary raw materials, especially the reagents necessary to carry out the process, will make the process very difficult.

Since the emergence of the alpha strain, Bogner said there has been "a lot of buzz that countries need to improve their genome sequencing efforts."

"Countries like the United States and Germany ... may have made a difference. But they neglected the urgent need for low- and middle-income countries to get the reagents they need to get the data," he said.