Other Group

Sentinel

Website:

www.sentinel.network

Associated Organization:

The Broad Institute and African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID)

Sentinel is a joint project between the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) and the Broad Institute. It is designed to act as an early warning system for newly developing disease outbreaks.

Partners

The Broad Institute and the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases have been at the forefront of a number of outbreaks, including the Ebola and Zika outbreaks in the 2010s, and have implemented advanced technologies and data-sharing systems while working to contain epidemics. [1]

Created in 2004, the Broad Institute performs medical research in a number of fields including infectious diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, to name a few. The Broad Institute spans thousands of scientists across Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Harvard-affiliated hospitals. [2] Eli Broad, a former Fortune 500 business leader, and his wife Edythe, contributed $100 million to the Institute as a founding gift. The Broads’ have invested a total of $800 million in the Broad Institute and continue to support a number of left-of-center causes (most notably gun control advocacy[3]) through The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.[4]

ACEGID, based in Ede, Nigeria, is led by Christian Happi. ACEGID works to enhance genomics research in Africa, as well as contribute to medical and health advances in the region. [5] Housed at Redeemer University, ACEGID was established with financial support from the World Bank. [6]

Project

Sentinel is designed to act as an early warning system for newly developing pandemics. The system aims to detect new pathogens through genome sequencing, share information amongst health care workers in real time, and train health care officials to integrate Sentinel surveillance tools into regular healthcare practices. [7]

Sentinel aims to use “point-of-care” tests that can easily and quickly identify viruses, both known and unknown, and share this information across the public health sphere. [8] The first test, known as Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter UnLOCKing, or SHERLOCK tests, can detect known pathogens in urine or blood samples and reveal the results on a paper strip without the use of specialized laboratory equipment. [9] The second test, Combinatorial Arrayed Reactions for Multiplexed Evaluation of Nucleic acids, or CARMEN tests, enable labs to increase diagnostic capabilities by testing for hundreds of viruses at once. [10] Once pathogens are detected, Sentinel aims to use mobile applications and dashboards to share information across the public health community. [11]

Sentinel was proposed before the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, but project leaders anticipate it will help mitigate the effects of the pandemic. [12] Elements of the program are in use in Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Liberia in response to COVID-19. [13]

Finance

In 2020, the left-of-center donor and ex-wife of Jeff Bezos MacKenzie Scott listed Sentinel, in conjunction with ACEGID and the Broad Institute, as one of more than 100 entities driving change that she supports. [14]

ACEGID and the Broad Institute were named as 2020 Grantees of the Audacious Project for their work on Sentinel. The Audacious Project, a social innovation initiative housed under the Ted Conferences network, has a number of left-of-center partners including the Skoll Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. [15]

Leadership

Sentinel is led by Christian Happi and Pardis Sabeti, disease researchers who have been studying infectious diseases together for twenty years. [16]

Happi is a visiting scientist at the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University. He also serves as a professor in Redeemer University’s Department of Biological Sciences[17] and is the director of ACEGID. [18] Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Happi’s lab was the first lab in Africa to sequence the COVID-19 genome. [19]

Sabeti is a member of the Broad Institute. She is a professor at the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Harvard School of Public Health and a professor at the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. She is also a shareholder and co-founder of SHERLOCK Biosciences, a provider of diagnostic testing for infectious diseases. [20]

References

  1. “ACEGID + BROAD INSTITUTE What If We Built a Global Surveillance Network to Stop the next Pandemic before It Starts?” The Audacious Project. Accessed November 24, 2020. https://audaciousproject.org/ideas/2020/acegid-+-broad-institute. ^
  2. “About the Broad Institute.” Broad Institute, June 28, 2018. https://www.broadinstitute.org/about-us. ^
  3. Data compiled by FoundationSearch.com subscription service, a project of Metasoft Systems, Inc., from forms filed with the Internal Revenue Service. Queries conducted April 1, 2019. ^
  4. “Eli Broad.” Broad Institute, September 9, 2016. https://www.broadinstitute.org/bios/eli-broad ^
  5. “About Us.” African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases. Accessed November 24, 2020. https://acegid.org/about-us/ ^
  6. “Our History.” African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases. Accessed November 24, 2020. https://acegid.org/our-history/ ^
  7. Sabeti, Pardis, and Christian Happi. “A Virus Detection Network to Stop the next Pandemic.” TED. TED Conferences, 2020. https://www.ted.com/talks/pardis_sabeti_and_christian_happi_a_virus_detection_network_to_stop_the_next_pandemic/transcript?language=en. ^
  8. “ACEGID + BROAD INSTITUTE What If We Built a Global Surveillance Network to Stop the next Pandemic before It Starts?” The Audacious Project. Accessed November 24, 2020. https://audaciousproject.org/ideas/2020/acegid-+-broad-institute. ^
  9. “SHERLOCK.” Broad Institute. October 24, 2019. Accessed November 24, 2020. https://www.broadinstitute.org/developing-diagnostics-and-treatments/sherlock. ^
  10. Zusi, Karen. “CRISPR-Based Diagnostic Chips Perform Thousands of Tests Simultaneously to Detect Viruses.” Broad Institute, September 3, 2020. https://www.broadinstitute.org/news/crispr-based-diagnostic-chips-perform-thousands-tests-simultaneously-detect-viruses. ^
  11. “ACEGID + BROAD INSTITUTE What If We Built a Global Surveillance Network to Stop the next Pandemic before It Starts?” The Audacious Project. Accessed November 24, 2020. https://audaciousproject.org/ideas/2020/acegid-+-broad-institute. ^
  12. “Supported Project Announced As Part of 2020 Audacious Project : Dimagi Blog.” Dimagi, May 11, 2020. https://www.dimagi.com/blog/sentinel-audacious-project-2020/. ^
  13. Cameron, David. “Scientific Coalition Developing Surveillance System for Detecting Emerging Pandemics in Real-Time.” Broad Institute, May 11, 2020. https://www.broadinstitute.org/news/scientific-coalition-developing-surveillance-system-detecting-emerging-pandemics-real-time. ^
  14. Scott, MacKenzie. “116 Organizations Driving Change.” Medium. Medium, July 28, 2020. https://medium.com/@mackenzie_scott/116-organizations-driving-change-67354c6d733d. ^
  15. “About The Audacious Project.” The Audacious Project. Accessed November 25, 2020. https://audaciousproject.org/about. ^
  16. Sabeti, Pardis, and Christian Happi. “A Virus Detection Network to Stop the next Pandemic.” TED. TED Conferences, 2020. https://www.ted.com/talks/pardis_sabeti_and_christian_happi_a_virus_detection_network_to_stop_the_next_pandemic/transcript?language=en. ^
  17. “Christian Happi.” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Accessed November 25, 2020. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/christian-happi/. ^
  18. “Our Team.” B. African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases. Accessed November 24, 2020. https://acegid.org/over-view/. ^
  19. Cameron, David. “Scientific Coalition Developing Surveillance System for Detecting Emerging Pandemics in Real-Time.” Broad Institute, May 11, 2020. https://www.broadinstitute.org/news/scientific-coalition-developing-surveillance-system-detecting-emerging-pandemics-real-time. ^
  20. “Pardis Sabeti.” Sabeti Lab. Accessed November 25, 2020. https://www.sabetilab.org/pardissabeti/. ^
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