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Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Gates Foundation Award $2M for Metagenomic Pathogen Research

NEW YORK — The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) said on Monday that it has partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to award $2 million in funding to support research into novel and emerging pathogens.

CZI and the Gates Foundation will provide 10 new grantees with up to $200,000 each to expand their access to next-generation sequencing and other technologies to conduct metagenomics research in low- and middle-income countries. Grant recipients will also receive training in sequencing, bioinformatics, and analysis, along with customized technical support for the Chan Zuckerberg ID cloud-based metagenomics sequencing platform.

Projects include ones focusing on neuroinfection diagnosis in Malaysia, embedding metagenomics in emerging infectious disease surveillance in Guinea, and the characterization of pathogens that cause febrile illness among children in the coastal and western areas of Kenya.

"Increasing the global research community's metagenomics capacity can help us better understand, treat, and track different diseases," Stephen Quake, head of science at CZI, said in a statement. "This commitment is a step towards ensuring that researchers can access the resources, technology, and tools that are necessary to investigate and detect emerging pathogens."

In mid-2019, the CZI-created Chan Zuckerberg Biohub partnered with the Gates Foundation to award grants to groups in 10 countries to use metagenomic sequencing for infectious disease research.