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

Blog Post 6/2019

Earlier this year, we awarded a five-year grant and made an additional investment in Sherlock Biosciences to support the development of a diagnostic platform to quickly, easily, and inexpensively identify any human virus.

Press 3/2019
from Forbes

The gene editing technology CRISPR is the inspiration for a new diagnostic testing company, Sherlock Biosciences. Open Phil provided a grant and investment to help launch the company.

Press 2/2019
from Nature

This powerful gene-editing tool could help to diagnose illnesses such as Lassa fever early and rein in the spread of infection. Open Phil is supporting development of a diagnostic platform to identify any human virus present in a patient sample.

Grant 1/2019

Sherlock Biosciences is leveraging CRISPR to develop a diagnostic platform to quickly, easily, and inexpensively identify any human virus. This significant advance in viral diagnosis could reduce threats from viral pandemics and benefit health care broadly.

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.

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.

Grant 2/2018

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

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.