Iceland World Leader in Sequencing COVID-19 Samples Skip to content

Iceland World Leader in Sequencing COVID-19 Samples

By Yelena

Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason
Photo: Golli. Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason.

Iceland is the global leader in sequencing samples of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a recent Washington Post article. Iceland has sequenced 56.2% of all COVID-19 cases that have been diagnosed in the country since the start of the pandemic. The US, for comparison, has sequenced 3.6%. Sequencing is a useful tool in contact tracing and curbing the spread of infection.

Second place on the list after Iceland was Denmark, with 46.6% of samples sequenced. It was followed by Australia in third place with 21.4% of samples sequenced. Luxembourg and Norway rounded out the top five, with 20% and 13% respectively. Sequencing results can be shared globally through the GISAID initiative, which provides a global database of coronavirus genomes.

Read More: Iceland’s Coronavirus Testing Could Help Global Pandemic Response

The article points out that the nations with the highest sequencing rates are largely European countries that also have high vaccination rates. Over 89% of Iceland’s eligible population (12 years and over) is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Around one-third of the population has received a booster shot. Scientists have encouraged rich countries to campaign for a more equitable global distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, as highly-transmissible variants are more likely to emerge when the SARS-CoV-2 virus circulates among unvaccinated populations.

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