CZI Coronavirus Response
2020 | This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).| Photograph by CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM.
Photograph by CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM.

A Message to Our Grantee Partners

Through our mission of supporting the science and technology that will make it possible to cure, prevent, or manage all diseases by the end of this century — we are already making an impact in helping scientists and researchers on the frontlines of this outbreak. The work of CZI’s team is aimed at leveraging open science, technology, and collaboration to accelerate our shared understanding of COVID-19. And in collaboration with our partners and across our network of grantees, CZI is helping fight this virus by increasing access to testing, genomic sequencing, research, community support, and more.

 

Stay up to date on what you can do to take care of yourself and slow the spread of coronavirus in your community at coronavirus.gov.

Chan Zuckerberg Biohub

In collaboration with CZI and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, UCSF was able to acquire more clinical diagnostics machines — allowing them to significantly increase their ability to test and diagnose new Bay Area COVID-19 cases.

We are also assisting UCSF to expand their clinical laboratory testing for COVID-19, not just with the purchase of equipment, but with operational support, informatics and protocol development, all within an expanded UCSF CLIA lab adjacent to the Biohub. Through these efforts, we hope to increase UCSF’s testing capacity to at least 1,000 tests per day, in the coming days. 

The CZ Biohub is also helping to facilitate connections between UCSF and other Bay Area hospitals that need more COVID-19 tests with Stanford Medicine. Stanford, which developed and launched an in-house test earlier this month, hopes to increase capacity to more than 1,000 tests per day within the coming days.

Watch the video of CZI co-founders Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Live conversation with CZ Biohub co-president Joseph DeRisi on how CZI and the Biohub are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

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IDseq

The CZI and CZ Biohub-developed IDseq tool has enabled researchers in Cambodia to sequence and confirm the country’s first case of COVID-19 in a matter of days — not the weeks it could typically take. The Cambodian researchers (trained with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) were able to proactively assess what was happening locally by prepping and sequencing the full genome of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in-house (via IDSeq) instead of sending those samples to a lab in another country for processing. 

In order to make this information accessible to as many scientists as possible, teams uploaded a manuscript summarizing their findings and the impact of in-country sequencing to preprint server bioRxiv. They also launched a public version of IDseq so scientists could study these data. Finally, they uploaded the genome sequence to open source pathogen data repositories, GISAID (Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data), and Nextstrain, so scientists anywhere can see the full genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and study it within the broader context of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus sequences uploaded globally.

Researchers at the Cambodian National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control (CNM) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) partnered with the Institut Pasteur Cambodia to complete this research. For more information, read our newsroom post. 

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Resolve to Save Lives

With $225 million in initial funding ($100 million from the Gates Foundation, $75 million from CZI, and $50 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies), Resolve to Save Lives launched in 2017 with a goal of reducing the risk of epidemics. Resolve (among other efforts), has been instrumental in providing immediate funding to African countries for rapid response teams and front-line health care workers, and supporting the World Health Organization, World Bank and other partners on this issue.

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bioRxiv

The rise of preprints is an example of how technology and open science are accelerating efforts to combat coronavirus. Traditionally, it takes anywhere from several months to several years for papers to be drafted, peer-reviewed, and published. That’s unacceptably slow for learning about a virus that is spreading in weeks. Researchers around the world are sharing new scientific results on the preprint server bioRxiv (a CZI grantee) and its sister site medRxiv.

During the Ebola and Zika outbreaks, only about 5 percent of the published research papers were shared in the form of a preprint ahead of journal submission. In the context of the COVID19 outbreak, we’re seeing a higher volume of preprints being shared. At the same time, scientists are upholding the principles of academic integrity on the platform by providing real-time peer review of preprints, both on bioRxiv itself and on social media. That critical review allows the self-correcting nature of science to take place in public — and helps to stop misinformation early. 

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protocols.io

Scientists have been using another CZI-funded platform — protocols.io — for sharing research methods. This includes the sequencing and detection protocols for coronavirus (for research only, and not for clinical diagnosis). All protocols are fully accessible, citable, and editable. 

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Meta

CZI’s Meta, a research discovery tool that uses machine learning to help researchers keep pace with discoveries through targeted feeds, maps both published papers and preprints — providing a single site to see them in one place. As of March 11, 1,438 papers (including 120 preprints) have been added to the #COVID-19 feed — these papers represent different variants of the virus name that researchers use, including COVID-19, 2019-nCoV, COVID 19, COVID19, SARS-CoV-2. The top 20 are available to researchers (or sign up for a free Meta account to see the full #COVID-19 feed).

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CORD-19

Researchers and leaders from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Microsoft Research, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and the National Library of Medicine of the National Institutes of Health have worked to prepare and distribute a set of research literature about COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and the coronavirus group. 

The new COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) will continue to be updated as new insights are published in archival services (e.g., bioRxiv, medRxiv, and others) and peer-reviewed publications. With these machine-readable resources accessible and available for data analysis, the worldwide machine learning community has the opportunity to apply recent advances in natural language processing to find answers to questions within, and connect insights across, this content in support of the ongoing fight against this infectious disease. For more information, read our newsroom post.

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Therapeutics Accelerator

CZI committed $25 million to the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator — a global effort to help speed the development of treatments for COVID-19. In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard, CZI’s investment will support efforts to identify and assess potentially promising therapies for COVID-19, expedite their development, and scale up their production to benefit millions of patients worldwide. 

The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator is aimed at accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs to treat patients with COVID-19. The Accelerator brings together resources and expertise to lower the financial and technical risk for academia, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies to develop treatments while ensuring equal access to these therapies once they are developed — including making them available and affordable in underserved communities. The Accelerator will work with the World Health Organization, government, and private sector funders and organizations, as well as global regulatory and policy-setting institutions. For more information, read our newsroom post.

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Public Health Communications Support

To help support getting accurate, science-based health information to the public about COVID-19, CZI is proud to support organizations that are dedicating campaigns, resources and coverage to this effort. This includes the California Governor’s Office’s COVID-19 public education campaign and special reporting by PBS NewsHour, including the primetime broadcast Confronting Coronavirus: A PBS NewsHour Special, Univision’s COVID-19 coverage and public service campaigns, and a virtual, free public series by the Commonwealth Club of California addressing several facets of the pandemic.

  • Watch the video of our co-CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Live conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on what the public needs to know about COVID-19 and how the NIH is responding.

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Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

CZI is supporting the Council of Chief School Officers (CCSSO) in their work to provide state leaders timely resources and support for preparedness, response, and recovery around school closures. CCSSO is a leader in working with state education leaders and is currently building and deploying communications, replicable frameworks, and guidance that will help inform decisions by state leaders and enable them to best coordinate with local districts depending on their local needs. CCSSO will continue to work with state leaders and the federal government over the coming months to help state leaders navigate complicated policy questions that arise from long term school closures, including how to help the most vulnerable students in a fair and equitable way.

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International Society for Education Technology (ISTE)

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is working with the International Society for Education Technology (ISTE) to enable the organization to provide guidance and support to school districts as they move learning online due to the spread of COVID-19. ISTE will be providing a free online portal with resources for educators and staffing a full-time helpline with experts from across the country to provide real-time support to school decision makers – particularly around supporting young students and special student populations. ISTE will stand up an ecosystem of trusted service providers that can meet school needs at this time. ISTE will partner with the broader education field, including teachers’ unions, education technology associations and advocacy and policy organizations, on a unified support plan for schools moving to remote learning.

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National Parents Union (NPU)

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is supporting the efforts of the National Parents Union (NPU) to translate and provide information on health, economic and educational resources to parents and families through NPU’s network of more than 200 parent organizations and grassroots activists across the country. The National Parents Union is partnering with Great Schools, EdNavigator, Learning Heroes, TNTP, ExcelinEd, Prepared Parents and local public access channels in its efforts to provide critical information on resources to low income families, communities of color, formerly incarcerated parents, foster families, parents with disabilities, parents of children with special needs, grandparents and LGBTQAI families.

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State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)

As school districts across the country face school closures, CZI is helping the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) to support the development of the SETDA Coalition for eLearning — an online portal of resources, policies, exemplars and professional learning to support state leaders and partners take collective action around teaching and learning in the digital age. To ensure students can continue learning away from brick and mortar schools, it is essential that educators collaborate to provide best practices and a framework for instruction. The coalition provides the opportunity to spark innovation around eLearning related to the COVID-19 virus, inevitable inclement weather and other future disruptive events.

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San Francisco Bay Area Response

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is committing an initial $5 million to support Bay Area public health agencies, organizations, and school districts in their emergency and long-term response to COVID-19. From supporting expanded emergency health services, to at-home learning, and programs that assist individuals and families who are financially impacted by work and school closures, CZI is focused on addressing the needs of communities most impacted by the pandemic. Learn more here.

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Grant and Partner Resources

We stand ready to help our grant organizations and partners as we adapt to changes caused by COVID-19. To help ensure the safety, connectivity, and productivity of our broader community, our IT team recommends a variety of tech resources to better enable partners in supporting a remote workforce, we’re coordinating virtual trainings to help grant partners manage the health of their organizations during this time of uncertainty, and we’re supporting teachers and parents with education resources for remote learning.

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