Scientists are to map the unfold of Covid in over 15 UK hospitals, to see the way it can defeat even the perfect infection-control defences.
The work, which has been given pressing standing by authorities, will use genetic materials to trace how the virus strikes between workers, sufferers and wards.
It might assist break extra chains of transmission.
Hospitals already use tried and examined strategies to minimise unfold, together with separating Covid sufferers from others.
The research, led by scientists at College Faculty London, will consider if fast viral genomic sequencing knowledge might help find and scale back the unfold of Covid-19 inside hospitals.
Which means taking a lot of nostril and throat swabs from sufferers and hospital workers and looking out on the genetic make-up of any coronavirus discovered.
Virus genomes consistently alter or mutate, altering a tiny bit at a time as they divide and unfold by infecting extra individuals.
And these modifications might be exploited to trace the unfold of the virus.
Scientists can inform from these fingerprints whether or not infections from two completely different individuals are an identical, which means one of many people transmitted it to the opposite.
If the fingerprints are completely different, it guidelines this out.
Prof Judith Breuer, who’s main the work, mentioned: “By sequencing Covid-19 viruses quickly, we hope to determine how hospital workers and sufferers grew to become contaminated.
“It will permit hospitals to place efficient measures in place sooner, to attempt to interrupt onward transmission of the virus and scale back the quantity and measurement of outbreaks.”
That may embrace extra common deep cleans, rechecking the effectiveness of private protecting gear and transferring different susceptible sufferers out of the hospital to a different setting, she mentioned.
Lots of the small genetic modifications may have no important impact on the severity of the illness the virus causes or how we must always battle it.
Up to now, coronavirus has not had mutations which may make any future vaccine for it ineffective.
However specialists say you will need to preserve a detailed examine on it simply in case.