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Some South Dakota farmers are unhappy with industrial ag getting conservation funds; Texas judge allows abortion in Cox case; Native tribes express concern over Nevada's clean energy projects.

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The Colorado Supreme Court weighs barring Trump from office, Georgia Republicans may be defying a federal judge with a Congressional map splitting a Black majority district and fake electors in Wisconsin finally agree Biden won there in 2020.

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Texas welcomes more visitors near Big Bend but locals worry the water won't last, those dependent on Colorado's Dolores River fear the same but have found common ground solutions, and a new film highlights historical healthcare challenges in rural Appalachia.

MI Universities Get Funding to Sequence COVID, Other Infectious Diseases

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Monday, January 10, 2022   

A new grant will increase the capacity for infectious-disease sequencing and research in Michigan, to improve the state's ability to respond to health crises.

Four universities are receiving a total of $18.5 million for the work.

Dr. Teena Chopra, co-director of Wayne State University's Detroit-based Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases, said the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of upping the ante on researching and preparing for this and future pandemics.

"The work under the grant involves looking at emerging infections, not only SARS-CoV 2 which causes COVID, but also other multi-drug-resistant organisms that have plagued the city of Detroit for years and now are even worse after the pandemic," Chopra explained.

She noted genomic sequencing can help with faster tracking of the transmission of COVID, controlling outbreaks in communities, detecting new variants and developing vaccines.

Dr. Marcus Zervos, who also co-directs WSU's Center, said the collaboration between universities is important. He emphasized efforts to understand the spread and reach of viruses such as COVID require national and international cooperation.

"We weren't able to rapidly respond to a pandemic because we didn't have mechanisms for testing and contact tracing and outbreak investigation and control," Zervos contended. "If it's COVID, or if it's a new strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it's critical to have the public health infrastructure in place."

Data showed in Detroit and other cities, the Black and Latino communities have been hit harder by COVID than white communities. The Center also is aiming to reduce disparities, by collaborating with the state, Detroit Health Department and community groups to find ways to benefit community health.

Disclosure: Wayne State University contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Education, Health Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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