While Germany is still debating, Covid-19 sequencing is already commonplace in the UK.

Since March 23, coinciding with the UK's first lockdown, trucks have been delivering swabs to the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Hinxton, south of Cambridge, almost every day.

The smears provided by dozens of laboratories come from all over the country.

The researchers try to analyze at least 10,000 smears per week;

They have already sequenced around 200,000 genomes in the specially constructed sequencing factory.

One of the genomes that they found in the south-east of England last autumn shows the urgency of their work: it contained a variant that the consortium cataloged under the name B1.1.7.

Just a few days ago, it was precisely this variant that persuaded Angela Merkel to continue to insist on strict lockdown requirements in a struggle with the state ministers.

The variant has only been officially confirmed in a few cases in Germany.

But so far, German researchers have not yet searched systematically and extensively for this variant.