The Audacious Project
Impact 2020
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ACEGID + Broad Institute

ACEGID + Broad Institute

The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) and Broad Institute have a bold plan to get ahead of pandemic outbreaks, with Sentinel. This pandemic preemption system detects viral threats in real time, helping to stop them before they spread. By empowering the healthcare community to respond faster and more efficiently than ever before, ACEGID and Broad Institute bring us closer to solving one of the most monumental public health challenges of our time

Main photo caption: Healthcare workers at Kenema government hospital in Sierra Leone. / Pardis Sabeti
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ACEGID + Broad Institute


The ACEGID and Broad Institute team has adapted their technologies to meet the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using their SHERLOCK system, they have developed SHINE, a simple COVID-19 test that can be used in remote or low-resource areas with minimal equipment. It has similar sensitivity to qPCR tests, the primary method used to diagnose the virus. 

In addition to successfully transferring CARMEN onto an existing commercial platform, the team has also developed a version that screens for COVID-19 and eight other key respiratory viruses simultaneously. ACEGID and Broad Institute will seek FDA Emergency Use Authorization for both SHINE and CARMEN-RVP. 

These developments are happening alongside ACEGID and Broad Institute’s continuing, real time efforts to test for and track COVID-19. These include: modifying their Sentinel software packages — CommCare, Scout and Lookout — to conduct contact tracing and symptom tracking in the US; developing a cloud-based platform that is currently analyzing SARS-CoV-2 viral genomic data from West Africa and around the world; and completing 11 percent of all COVID-19 tests in Nigeria to date. 

“Sentinel was designed as a flexible, scalable platform to enable the public health sector to take the offensive against infectious disease and confront emerging diseases. We never imagined our first test would come so soon. But our swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in collaboration with public health institutions in Africa, demonstrates the resilience of our structure and agility of our operations.”

Christian Happi, ACEGID Pardis Sabeti, Broad Institute ACEGID + BROAD INSTITUTE