The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has announced seven grants totaling $11 million in support of efforts to prevent future outbreaks of the Ebola virus from becoming epidemics.
Awarded through Vulcan Inc.'s Paul G. Allen Ebola Program — to which Allen pledged $100 million in October 2014 to stem an Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — the grants will be used to address gaps in infrastructure and logistics, inadequate diagnostics, and the lack of data and coordination. In the area of emergency infrastructure and logistics, the program awarded $829,865 to the World Food Programme to develop a virtual supply chain that will enable aid organizations to secure goods and services more quickly; $1.5 million to the Baylor College of Medicine to design and/or build pharmacy and lab pod prototypes as well as a space-efficient triage unit; and $1 million to the Food Protection and Defense Institute at the University of Minnesota in support of efforts to use data and predictive analytics to identify emerging outbreaks and strengthen healthcare supply chains.
In the area of diagnostics, Chembio Diagnostic Systems, Inc. was awarded $2.1 million to develop a point-of-care diagnostic to simultaneously detect malaria, dengue, Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, and chikungunya; BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.) will receive nearly $2.8 million to help develop a rapid, cost-effective diagnostic for Ebola that includes the ability to test for other potential sources of fever; and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics was awarded almost $2 million to provide access to critical reagents and clinical specimens and coordinate feasibility studies. The foundation also awarded $1 million to UNOCHA to integrate data systems and offer data services to partners across West Africa.
"The 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak exposed significant gaps in the world's ability to effectively contain emerging infectious diseases," said Barbara Bennett, president and CEO of Vulcan Inc., which Allen established to conduct ventures in both the nonprofit and for-profit arenas. "We're committed to helping ensure the next outbreak doesn't become the next epidemic. While the world cannot stop every outbreak, we can apply innovative solutions to more effectively fill the gaps and better prepare communities worldwide to quickly stamp out global health threats."