Mar 10, 2020 · 2 min read

CZI & CZ Biohub to Quadruple UCSF COVID-19 Testing Capabilities

‘COVID-19 Task Force’ Helps Expand COVID-19 Testing and Diagnostics Capabilities

Microscopic illustration of the spreading 2019 corona virus that was discovered in Wuhan, China. The image is an artisic but scientific interpretation, with all relevant surface details of this particular virus in place, including Spike Glycoproteins, Hemagglutinin-esterase, E- and M-Proteins and Envelope.

A newly-created ‘COVID-19 Task Force’, which includes representation from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, UCSF, and Stanford University, today announced that they aim to quadruple UCSF’s COVID-19 testing and diagnostics capacities by funding the acquisition of two state-of-the-art clinical diagnostic machines. Once approved by the FDA for COVID-19 testing and diagnostics, these machines will allow UCSF to significantly increase its ability to test and diagnose new Bay Area COVID-19 cases. Per public health protocols, testing is being limited to symptomatic patients with tests ordered by doctors and health care professionals. 

“As the coronavirus epidemic continues to grow, our ability to rapidly test and diagnose cases is critical,” said Chan Zuckerberg Biohub co-President, Joe DeRisi. “Procuring these new diagnostic machines will have a significant impact on our ability to respond to the outbreak in a more streamlined way.”

The Task Force was also able to help bridge some of the Bay Area’s testing shortages by connecting groups at UCSF and Stanford, so that UCSF test requests can now be handled at Stanford when UCSF’s internal capacity is exceeded and city laboratories are backlogged. Promoting closer collaborations and creating better resource-sharing opportunities between these institutions were some of CZI’s primary goals when it created the Biohub in 2016.

“Science moves better — and faster — when we work together and contribute with our greatest strengths,” said CZI Head of Science, Cori Bargmann. “CZI and the Biohub are grateful to partner with UCSF and Stanford to put the right technology into the right hands, with the hope of making an immediate impact.”

The instruments are being installed and validated at UCSF in anticipation of FDA approval for COVID-19 testing on this platform.

For more information about how CZI and our grant partners are responding to COVID-19, visit


About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit

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