USAID, Broad Institute and Illumina Form a Public-Private Partnership
News Nov 19, 2014
To help combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Illumina, Inc. have entered into a public-private partnership to aid those on the ground who are fighting the spread of the virus. The partnership will train local and outbreak-deployed personnel to sequence viral genomes from the outbreak, and will extend surveillance operations. Genome sequencing of the virus is critical for genomic surveillance--tracking how the virus is moving and changing in real-time. This information may influence the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapies.
The partnership will equip facilities in West Africa with state-of-the-art genome sequencing technology that will aid in Ebola response now and in clinical monitoring and pathogen surveillance in the future. Sequencing and patient monitoring facilities will be created first in Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, and over the longer term in other West African countries. These centers will serve as hubs for the deployment of mobile laboratories to remote districts where large-scale capacity is not available.
"The United States is embracing a new model of development--one grounded in a focus on innovation, local leadership, and public-private partnerships to accelerate progress in the most challenging places," said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. "By partnering with experts from the Broad Institute and Illumina, we can give health workers the tools they need to win the fight against Ebola."
A team of researchers led by Pardis Sabeti from the Broad Institute has been working with collaborators in Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone for many years, training them to use state-of-the-art sequencing and diagnostic technology. Leveraging this experience, the team will also move to enable similar work in Liberia, the country hit hardest by the outbreak.
"We are thrilled to be working with USAID and Illumina," said Sabeti, an Associate Professor at Harvard University and a Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute. "The generosity of our partners will enable our outstanding African collaborators to provide real time information about the circulation and mutation of Ebola virus strains, which is critical for keeping diagnostics, vaccines, and therapies up-to-date. And, importantly, this partnership will build long-term strength in Africa for genomic surveillance."
"This is an urgent situation that needs our immediate attention," said Rick Klausner, Chief Medical Officer of Illumina. "Illumina's MiSeq sequencing platform, with turnaround times of 4-24 hours, will provide high-throughput capacity for the analysis of heavy sample loads."
The labs of Professor Christian Happi of Redeemer's University in Nigeria and Professor Daouda Ndiaye of Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal will be the first to receive the MiSeq®desktop sequencers, ideal for targeted and small genome sequencing, with labs in Liberia and Sierra Leone subsequently receiving machines. Through support from the NIH and the World Bank, 11 researchers from Nigeria and Senegal completed an advanced training program in genomics at the Broad Institute this past summer, including in-depth work using Illumina technology. The lab of Professor Happi, which played a key role in Ebola diagnosis, is set to sequence the 20 confirmed and suspected cases from the Nigerian outbreak that was declared over on October 20, 2014.
"We are excited to soon get the MiSeq on the ground and to produce this genomic information critical in the global response," said Happi.
Gene Editing Technology May Improve Accuracy of Predicting Heart Disease RiskNews
Scientists may now be able to predict whether carrying a specific genetic variant increases a person’s risk for disease using gene editing and stem cell technologies.READ MORE
Improved Method for Isolating Extracellular RNANews
In a breakthrough that could lead to powerful new ways to diagnose and track a wide range of medical conditions, scientists at The Rockefeller University have devised an improved method for isolating and identifying tiny fragments of RNA in human blood products.READ MORE
Giant Viruses Invent Their Own GenesNews
Three new members have been isolated and added to the Pandoravirus family. This strange family of viruses, with their giant genomes and many genes with no known equivalents, surprised scientists when they were discovered a few years ago. This new study notes that pandoraviruses appear to be factories for new genes – and therefore new functions.
Comments | 0 ADD COMMENT
27th International Conference on Nanomedicine and Nanomaterials
Oct 18 - Oct 19, 2018