National Institute of Health Carlos III
The Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII) is the national and international reference in biomedical research and public health in Spain.
A protocol to include genomic sequencing in the SARS-CoV-2 Alert System has been approved by the Spanish National Health System. The document, prepared by the Ministry of Health with the participation of The Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII) provides guidance for assessing the incidence of viral genetic variants, as well as for the identification of new ones, which may be of interest for public health.
Adding genomic sequencing to the epidemiological surveillance of a virus is important for pandemic control. This recently approved protocol provides for the integration of genomic sequencing into the epidemiological surveillance system, through a network of laboratories with sequencing capabilities. This network will be coordinated by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the ISCIII National Microbiology Centre.
The document includes procedures for the identification and monitoring of circulating variants in Spain, and for the integration of information gathered into the Epidemiological Surveillance System (SiViEs), managed the National Epidemiology Centre of ISCIII together with the Ministry of Health as part of the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network (RENAVE).
The protocol reflects the public health measures, proposed by the European Centre for Disease detection and Control (ECDC), to contain transmission of these variants. These measures include early detection of the circulation of variants by genomic sequencing in target groups; determining the incidence of cases of these variants in the population; monitoring of cases and intensified contacts in people with known epidemiological links in areas with significant circulation of variants of interest, and possible movement restrictions to these areas.
The protocol will be under constant review based on developments in the pandemic and new information available for SARS-CoV-2 infection.