Scotland's scientists have joined an urgent bid to map the spread of the coronavirus

Researchers at the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh are involved in a project which will analyse samples of the virus collected across the UK. 

It's hoped the results of this research will help with the urgent fight to contain the coronavirus, which has now resulted in 14 deaths in Scotland

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “At a critical moment in history, this new consortium will bring together the UK’s brightest and best scientists to build our understanding of this pandemic, tackle the disease and ultimately, save lives.

“As a government, we are working tirelessly to do all we can to fight COVID-19 to protect as many lives and save as many jobs as possible.”

Scientists will carefully examine the genetic code of samples taken from people who contracted Covid-19.

It's hoped the research will give "public health agencies with a unique tool to combat the virus" and contribute to the battle to find a cure. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus LIVE: Scots deaths reach double figures with 416 confirmed cases

Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, added: “In response to the ongoing Covid-10 pandemic, the Sanger Institute will deploy its large-scale sequencing platform alongside regional sequencing centres to support UK Public Health Agencies, regional NHS centres and several Universities to better understand the coronavirus outbreak in the UK.

“Samples from substantial numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be whole genome sequenced and, employing the Sanger Institute’s expertise in genomics and surveillance of infectious diseases, our researchers will collaborate with other leading groups across the country to analyse the data generated and work out how coronavirus is spreading in the UK. This will inform national and international strategies to control the pandemic and prevent further spread.”

Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, added: “Genomic sequencing will help us understand COVID-19 and its spread. It can also help guide treatments in the future and see the impact of interventions.