A DNA Sequencing Revolution Helped Us Fight Covid. What Else Can It Do?

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Edward Holmes was in Australia on a Saturday morning in early January 2020, talking on the phone with a Chinese scientist named Yong-Zhen Zhang who had just sequenced the genome of a novel pathogen that was infecting people in Wuhan. The two men — old friends — debated the results. “I knew we were looking at a respiratory virus,” recalls Holmes, a virologist and professor at the University of Sydney. He also knew it looked dangerous.

Could he share the genetic code publicly? Holmes asked. Zhang was in China, on…

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