The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has announced that it will ramp up the testing and diagnostic capacities of its recently launched COVID-19 Task Force.
The task force, which includes teams from CZI, the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, the University of California, San Francisco, and Stanford University, aims to quadruple the region's testing and diagnostics capacity by funding the acquisition of two state-of-the-art FDA-approved clinical diagnostic machines by UCSF. Per public health protocols, testing is being limited to symptomatic patients, with tests ordered by doctors and healthcare professionals. UCSF will be able to boost its testing of COVID-19 cases in the Bay Area as early as March 16, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
"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."
"We're also bridging connections between clinical labs at Stanford and UCSF to help distribute the testing load throughout the area," Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post announcing the effort. "And following up on my post last week about the IDSeq (Infectious Disease Sequencing) tool we developed at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, researchers in Cambodia recently published how they were able to sequence the virus that causes COVID-19 and confirm the country's first case....This new data is continuing to provide scientists with valuable insights into the transmission and spread of the virus, and could hopefully unlock new discoveries that could lead to treatments."
(Photo credit: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)