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Science Supporting Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness

Pandemics, natural or person-made, have the potential to cause significant, and perhaps unprecedented, harm. We support breakthrough research in the basic science of infectious disease, pathogen detection and identification, and countermeasures. We are especially interested in research that applies to a wide swath of pathogen types. Others at Open Philanthropy support policy and governance efforts to reduce these risks.

Our Work

Cause Report 4/2018

Our impression is that viral pathogens seem especially likely to contribute to catastrophic pandemics because they have the potential to be highly virulent and transmissible, and the very few broad-spectrum therapeutics have undesirable side effects.

Press 4/2018
from GeekWire

The grant will accelerate efforts to advance the field of protein design and put it to use in real-world applications. The institute is led by UW biochemist David Baker, who has pioneered protein-folding software platforms such as Rosetta and FoldIt.

Grant 2/2018
$880,000

Testing the efficacy of two commercial-quality drugs against five unique viruses will further understanding of the broad spectrum antiviral potential of these compounds and could reduce the effects of a bioterrorism attack or pandemic virus outbreak.

Grant 11/2017
$11,367,500

The Institute for Protein Design seeks to better predict protein properties, which could lead to helpful applications in both human and animal health, such as facilitating faster creation of antiviral therapies in the event of a pandemic outbreak.

Press 9/2017
from The Scientist

Researchers are working to better understand how viruses take advantage of hosts’ epigenomes — and how they might be stopped.

We have supported research in this area

Grant 6/2017
$81,500

Determining the molecular structure of Hsp70i may help optimize a class of broad-spectrum antiviral drugs that are active against diseases such as dengue. The work will be led by Dr. Timothy Haystead, Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology.

Grant 4/2017
$1,600,000

A protein in influenza H3N2 weakens host defense systems by mimicking a protein normally present in host cells. Understanding the structure and function of the mimics may present a new target for development of antiviral compounds.

Press 3/2017
from The Scientist

Using epidemiological and laboratory data, scientists have mapped out a sequence of mutations through which the attenuated oral polio vaccine reverts to a virulent virus.

We have supported research in this area.

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