Chan Zuckerberg and Gates Foundation partner to track infectious diseases

December 13, 2018 0 By FM

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub (Biohub) and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) have launched IDseq, an open source cloud-based analysis platform to detect and respond to infectious disease outbreaks around the world.
The tool works by rapidly combing through terabytes of metagenomic data for pathogens in a given sample. By identifying disease-causing pathogens, IDseq can provide an actionable report of what is happening on the ground in labs and clinics anywhere in the world.
In a recent pilot project, IDseq has been employed to identify the presence of the mosquito-borne viral chikungunya disease in the spinal fluid of patients at Dhaka Shishu Hospital, the largest paediatric hospital in Bangladesh. Based on this information, follow-up testing identified additional cases of neuroinvasive chikungunya from the same time period that were previously labeled “mystery cases.”
To enable broader access to IDseq and valuable on-the-ground feedback, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a new funding opportunity for global health workers via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Explorations Initiative. Awardees will receive molecular biology and bioinformatics training and free access and compute on the IDseq platform supported by CZI, along with the necessary equipment and supplies immediately needed to begin work in their own countries.
The Biohub and CZI plan to make IDseq available within the next year to partner organizations, and then more broadly afterward. The software itself is open-source and freely available.
The CZ Biohub is a non-profit medical research organization collaborating with the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of California, San Francisco.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan is a philanthropic organization.