Officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Illumina say they have entered into a public-private partnership to aid those on the ground who are fighting the spread of Ebola. The partnership will train local and outbreak-deployed personnel to sequence viral genomes from the outbreak, and will extend surveillance operations.

Such genomic surveillance can track how the virus is moving and changing in real-time. The organizations believe that this information may influence the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and therapies.

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.”

“This is an urgent situation that needs our immediate attention,” added 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.”

Previous articleTransgenomic Alliance Aims to Advance Understanding of Genetic Disease Tuberous Sclerosis
Next articleShire Moves U.S. HQ, 500 Jobs to Massachusetts