News Article | September 13, 2016
A startup called Rex Animal Health wants to protect livestock from illnesses that can quickly turn into epidemics, and help farmers breed animals with the healthiest and most attractive traits. Today at Disrupt SF, Rex unveiled technology to help veterinarians provide clinical support at the point on the farm, and predict the genetic causes of problematic traits in their herds, and in the diseases effecting them. According to CEO Amado Guloy, his company didn’t start out this way. The pet parent of a sick dog, he set out originally to build something like “Zocdoc for pets,” he said, to help people find and schedule appointments with veterinarians. But as a chemist by training, and Techstars-backed entrepreneur, he soon saw a much larger market opportunity in bringing data analytics and genomics to the farm. The company pivoted in 2015. Today, Rex Animal Health’s platform lets the people who raise cattle, pigs, chickens and any other animals in the food supply chain keep a digital record of their health issues, even converting notes on paper into digital data. The platform tracks which animals experience symptoms, which animals suffered from a veterinarian-diagnosed health problem and when, as well as the treatment measures taken, outcomes and associated costs to the business. Rex Animal Health standardizes the data to make comparisons and calculations easy. The company also conducts genomic and phenotype analysis, and gives farmers “weather maps,” or epidemiological maps, showing which viruses, bacteria and other health problems are sweeping a region. With these maps, the farmers and veterinarians who work with them can prioritize lab testing of their animals, and rule out or diagnose locally prevalent issues quickly. Over time, the company will combine electronic health records of animals with genomic data about both animals and the pathogens effecting them. “What we have is a genotype and phenotype database that nobody has built before, and that could help solve problems around disease transmission and sustainability in the global food supply,” Guloy said. Data could also help pharmaceutical companies speed drug development to stop recently mutated viruses or bacteria effecting livestock. And it could influence animal husbandry. If a bull consistently sires calves that wind up producing a lot of milk, for example, or a heifer and her offspring seem to never be affected by respiratory viruses, Rex Animal Health can use the data it’s amassed to track down the causal genes affiliated with these positive traits, the CEO explained. Knowing which animals have illness resistance and yield good milk and meat would encourage breeding of both into a kind of super herd. The company, which earlier raised bout $270,000 in seed money from Techstars and 500 Startups, is hoping to raise additional venture capital to expand its own genetic sequencing capability and hire more employees. They are competing against other startups bringing genomics and data science to farms, including Metabiota and Trace Genomics.
News Article | March 8, 2016
An American company that bills itself as a pioneer in tracking emerging epidemics made a series of costly mistakes during the 2014 Ebola outbreak that swept across West Africa - with employees feuding with fellow responders, contributing to misdiagnosed Ebola cases and repeatedly misreading the trajectory of the virus, an Associated Press investigation has found. San Francisco-based Metabiota Inc. was tapped by the Sierra Leonean government and the World Health Organization to help monitor the spread of the virus and support the response after Ebola was discovered circulating in neighboring Guinea in March 2014. But emails obtained by AP and interviews with aid workers on the ground show that some of the company's actions made an already chaotic situation worse. WHO outbreak expert Dr. Eric Bertherat wrote to colleagues in a July 17, 2014, email about misdiagnoses and "total confusion" at the Sierra Leone government lab Metabiota shared with Tulane University in the city of Kenema. He said there was "no tracking of the samples" and "absolutely no control on what is being done." "This is a situation that WHO can no longer endorse," he wrote. Metabiota chief executive officer and founder Nathan Wolfe said there was no evidence his company was responsible for the lab blunders, that the reported squabbles were overblown and that any predictions made by his employees didn't reflect the company's position. He said Metabiota doesn't specialize in outbreak response and that his employees stepped in to help and performed admirably amid the carnage of the world's biggest-ever Ebola outbreak. "Metabiota's team worked tirelessly, skillfully and at substantial potential danger to themselves to assist when most of the world was still ignoring the problem," he said in an email. "We are proud of our team efforts which went above and beyond the call of duty." Wolfe said some of the problems flagged were misunderstandings - and that others were planted by commercial rivals. The complaints about Metabiota mirror the wider mismanagement that hamstrung the world's response to Ebola, a disease that has killed upward of 11,000 people. Previous AP reporting has shown that WHO resisted sounding the alarm over Ebola for two months on political, religious and economic grounds and failed to put together a decisive response even after the alert was issued. The turmoil that followed left health workers in Kenema bereft of protective equipment or even body bags and using expired chlorine, a crucial disinfectant. WHO said Metabiota was well-placed to help when Ebola broke out in West Africa because of its expertise with Lassa, a related disease. The agency declined to give any detail about how it dealt with the complaints from senior staff about the firm or the status of their current relationship. In Sierra Leone, Sylvia Blyden, who served as special executive assistant to the country's president in the early days of the outbreak, said Metabiota's response was a disaster. "They messed up the entire region," she said. She called Metabiota's attempt to claim credit for its Ebola work "an insult for the memories of thousands of Africans who have died." Wolfe, a swashbuckling scientist sometimes described as the Indiana Jones of virology, has focused his company's work on disease hotspots like West Africa in a bid to sniff out the next big threat. In his book, "The Viral Storm," Wolfe writes that his work is aimed at hunting down "the first moments at the birth of a new pandemic" to prevent its global spread. With a doctorate in immunology and infectious diseases from Harvard, Wolfe, 45, has found some serious backers. Metabiota and its nonprofit sister company Global Viral have received millions in funding from USAID, Google and the Skoll Foundation, among others. The Department of Defense alone has granted more than $18 million worth of contracts to the firm, federal records show. In the early months of the outbreak, with WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thin on the ground, Metabiota said it stepped in to help at the request of the Sierra Leonean government. An account posted to its website says Metabiota provided "critical support" in the earliest days of the outbreak, organizing training, jointly running Sierra Leone's Ebola laboratory, assisting with outbreak logistics and producing daily reports for the government. Messages saved to ProMed, a mailing list for outbreak watchers, are upbeat, describing Metabiota's tests and how it was teaching Sierra Leoneans how to set up Ebola isolation wards. On May 12, senior Metabiota scientist Dr. Jean-Paul Gonzalez said preparedness work had "ultimately protected, or at least uniquely prepared, Sierra Leone." But there were already reports of suspected infections in the country and, within weeks, the virus tore through Sierra Leone, overwhelming the hospital in Kenema where Metabiota shared the 700-square-foot (65-square-meter) lab with Tulane. To some at Tulane, which had a long-established research project at the lab, Metabiota's missteps were predictable. The two groups worked side-by-side in an uneasy relationship that observers said sometimes tipped into open conflict. Tulane microbiology professor Bob Garry questioned whether Gonzalez was the right person to teach Sierra Leoneans how to protect themselves from Ebola. In 1994, the French researcher was at the center of a safety scare at Yale University after he accidentally infected himself with the rare Sabia virus and didn't notify officials there for more than a week. The university put more than 100 people under surveillance and ordered Gonzalez to take a remedial safety course. Garry said that should have raised a red flag. "Do you really want the person who infected himself with hemorrhagic fever going around explaining to people how to be safe?" he asked. Gonzalez referred questions to a Metabiota press representative, who said in an email that the incident happened more than 20 years ago and that Gonzalez has extensive lab safety experience. But Garry also faced questions; the WHO emails obtained by AP complaining about the Kenema lab are as critical of Tulane as they are of Metabiota. Garry acknowledged mistakes but said they were understandable given the chaotic circumstances. "We didn't have the personnel and the infrastructure that was needed to handle the onslaught of cases that were coming," he said. "We were doing the best we had with what we had there." "THEY WERE AT WAR" As the death toll mounted in July, scientists from WHO, the United States and Canada were voicing concerns about what Metabiota and its Tulane colleagues were doing at the Kenema lab, according to the emails obtained by AP and interviews with those on the ground at the time. When Gary Kobinger, head of special pathogens at the Public Health Agency of Canada, double-checked some of the facility's work in mid-July, he found worrying discrepancies in four of eight tests and identified up to five people wrongly diagnosed with Ebola, among them a worker with the medical charity Doctors Without Borders. Kobinger told AP in a telephone interview that the misdiagnoses he caught suggested many more had gone unnoticed. "If you detect two, three, four, five, how many are out there?" he said. The mistakes were doubly dangerous in a country where many mistrusted international workers, who were suspected of spreading Ebola deliberately, said Bertherat, the WHO outbreak expert. Attempts to reassure a jittery public could be "totally ruined if the population does not trust anymore in the diagnostic of the medical teams," he wrote in an email. Bertherat proposed two fixes for the problematic lab: WHO could either train Metabiota and Tulane staffers, or close down the facility and transfer all testing to another lab. He told his boss on July 18, 2014, that shutting down the shared lab was the "more prudent" option. Five days later, Geneva-based WHO staffer Pat Drury emailed the agency's chief, Dr. Margaret Chan, with criticism of both Tulane and Metabiota, referring to their shared facility as two labs. "Both labs do not meet international standards for Biosecurity," he said, adding that "several patients have been wrongly tested positive." Metabiota founder Wolfe said "we did wonderful lab work as far as I'm concerned." Errors in the shared facility stopped once "other groups" were pulled from the testing and, in any case, he noted that Metabiota tested over 1,800 samples. Even if any mistakes were made, he said the error rates were well within ranges seen elsewhere. Wolfe did not name the "other groups," but documents and interviews show Metabiota and Tulane blamed each other. "On the surface, they were collaborating," Kobinger said. But in reality, "they were at war." U.S. health official Austin Demby, who was sent to evaluate the lab's work at the request of the CDC and Sierra Leone, said initial diagnostic tests carried out by Metabiota and Tulane clashed as often as 30 percent of the time. Errors raised the risk that the virus could be spread further by sending infected patients home or confining otherwise healthy people to infectious Ebola wards. In a July 21 email to CDC and State Department officials, Demby put the blame at Tulane's door, saying Metabiota's tests were always closer to the mark and that Tulane's "add no real value to the diagnosis." But Tulane's Garry said Metabiota's staff stirred confusion by not following protocol. Wolfe said that was "simply false." The lab's set-up also was worrisome. Used needles littered the place, according to a worker who spoke on condition of anonymity because the worker was not authorized to speak to the media. Demby said in his email that the lab lacked an ultraviolet light for decontamination and didn't have enough space to process blood samples safely. "The cross contamination potential is huge and quite frankly unacceptable," he wrote. Tulane pulled the plug on its tests soon thereafter and the lab's results improved. Kobinger credited Metabiota researcher Nadia Wauquier - "the hero of that whole gang" - with tightening procedures, but eventually the company was relieved of its testing duties and the CDC took over. Both Tulane and Metabiota say they stepped aside voluntarily. Outside the lab, the training touted by Metabiota unnerved some fellow responders. Anja Wolz, an emergency coordinator with Doctors Without Borders, told AP in an interview that she saw Metabiota workers enter the homes of suspected Ebola patients without protective gear and without decontaminating themselves before leaving high-risk areas. "They didn't even have chlorine with them to wash their hands," she said, adding that Metabiota project coordinator James Bangura told her they didn't need the critical disinfectant. "I didn't go inside the Metabiota lab," she said. "I refused to go because I had already seen enough." Aid workers also complained that Metabiota employees including Bangura and a Ugandan consultant hijacked the outbreak response in Kenema, which was supposed to be directed by WHO. Metabiota staffers "are systematically obstructing any attempt to improve the existing surveillance system and there are a lot of improvement(s) needed," WHO Ebola coordinator Philippe Barboza said in an August 8, 2014, email. The next day, he argued that WHO should pull its outbreak staff from Kenema so they wouldn't be tarred with Metabiota's failures, writing he was "very concerned of the potential reputational risk for WHO." British disease expert Chris Lane echoed Barboza's concerns. In a message to Barboza, he lamented that "much good work was achieved prior to the arrival of the Metabiota field staff." Barboza and Lane declined comment on the arguments. Metabiota officials acknowledged the dispute but downplayed it. "It is inaccurate to suggest a major conflict between WHO and Metabiota," Wolfe said, noting that Bangura was awarded a Sierra Leonean presidential silver medal for his Ebola efforts. Nevertheless, the disagreement was serious enough that Metabiota said it fired the consultant and pulled Bangura from Kenema. The consequences went beyond office politics. In one email, Barboza said 1 million euros in funding proposed by the International Rescue Committee was being held up because the donors wanted "a clear WHO leadership." Some responders said one of the most disturbing mistakes Metabiota employees made was misreading the epidemic. Wolz, of Doctors Without Borders, said she recalled a meeting in the early summer as cases began multiplying "when I said that the outbreak was completely out of control." She said Metabiota responded, 'No, we know where we are, everything is OK.'" Kobinger, the Canadian scientist, said Bangura would interpret temporary dips in the number of cases to mean that the outbreak was dissipating. He said he couldn't fathom that reasoning given the number of Ebola-positive samples pouring into his own lab in nearby Kailahun. Though Bangura said he did not personally make any estimates, Kobinger said Bangura told him in July that the outbreak would be over in "two or three weeks." Any suggestion Metabiota wrongly forecast the Ebola epidemic is rejected by Wolfe, who once wrote that his career is focused on creating systems "that can accurately detect pandemics early, determine their likely importance, and, with any luck, crush those that have the potential to devastate us." Wolfe told AP that his company couldn't be held responsible for the predictions of employees seconded to Sierra Leone's Health Ministry. "We didn't make forecasts. We loaned individuals to the ministry," Wolfe said. "So the notion that somehow it's a Metabiota forecast is simply completely inaccurate." Fellow responders may not have grasped the distinction. On Aug. 11 - just three days after WHO had declared the crisis a global emergency - Metabiota employees presented a slideshow to an Ebola task force. Next to a bar chart showing a slowdown in cases were the words: "The outbreak is stabilizing." "This is the kind of report we get from Metabiota epidemiologists," she emailed colleagues from the presentation. "They are sending wrong messages. The outbreak is clearly not stabilizing." It was only in the second half of August that Kenema numbers began falling and, even then, the virus was merely moving to more populated areas. Nearly two years after the virus was first discovered circulating near its border, Sierra Leone still is not officially Ebola-free. "THEY MESSED UP ON EBOLA" Despite doubts about Metabiota's performance, Wolfe's firm has largely been congratulated on its work in West Africa. In December 2014, it won a European Union grant to help validate new tests and treatments for the disease, something a company official said was in recognition of "the critical contributions our team has made in supporting the current outbreak." In 2015, the company raised some $30 million in investment from four U.S. investment firms intended to "support Metabiota's efforts to further develop and deliver epidemic risk management worldwide," according to a press release. Even WHO has publicly credited Metabiota for its work during the outbreak. Months after Senga, one of its employees, complained privately about Metabiota's optimistic predictions in Kenema, she wrote a sunnier account on WHO's website. "The fact that they were already there helped a lot," she wrote in a post called "Ebola Diaries." Tulane and Metabiota employees already being established in Kenema "made our case investigations and contact tracing work a lot easier," she wrote. Guillaume Lachenal, a medical historian at Paris Diderot University who has followed Metabiota's work in Africa, said it was indecent of the company to claim Ebola as a success story. "They messed up on Ebola. That can happen," he said. "To make a success story out of their Ebola response, that's quite something." Satter and Cheng also reported from London. Krista Larson contributed to this report from Kenema, Sierra Leone. Lisa Leff contributed from San Francisco.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: Health | Award Amount: 2.04M | Year: 2014
IF-EBOLa has been strategically designed to efficiently respond to critical needs required to control the current EBOV outbreak from spreading. The work will involve two of the main EVD outbreak sites, Sierra Leone and Guinea. MDs, public health authorities and virus experts working on site, under ethical regulatory rules, will extend their collaboration to companies and institution to form a consortium of outstanding complementary partners, sharing their innovative technological approaches for a common goal. Our project aim is to contribute to provide an innovative early and accurate diagnostic for an early treatment and includes 2 phases: (I) a phase of preparation including, ethical authorizations, antibody production, technical and field organization as well as the beginning a follow-up of the homeostatic profile of contacts early-EBOV diagnosed and self-cured convalescent individuals in the absence of existing treatment, (with an ultrasensitive detection method of pernicious microorganisms, from the EC USDEP project qualified as a European success story USDEP project in 2010 by the EC-Project Officer) and (II) using a wide validated approach revisited with an innovative concept (strongly supported EC/EMA-WHO), we propose to carry out an experimental passive-immune therapy based on neutralizing capacity of horse anti-EBOV polyclonal F(ab)2 on early-diagnosed patients (n>300 that will be adapted in function of the epidemic situation) to impact and reduce their pre-existing viremia, their mortality, the evolution of their homeostasis profile, during and after this treatment (once patients become convalescents). The homeostasis status evolution will help to generate high quality scientific data to understand the EVD, the effect of this therapy and cure parameters characterized at 3 different levels: immune (transcriptomes, NGS, metagenomics); infectious (other than EBOV, DNA arrays), and EBOV diversity (sequencing and metagenomics).
Schoepp R.J.,U.S. Army |
Rossi C.A.,U.S. Army |
Khan S.H.,Kenema Government Hospital |
Goba A.,Kenema Government Hospital |
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014
Sierra Leone in West Africa is in a Lassa fever- hyperendemic region that also includes Guinea and Liberia. Each year, suspected Lassa fever cases result in submission of ≈500-700 samples to the Kenema Government Hospital Lassa Diagnostic Laboratory in eastern Sierra Leone. Generally only 30%-40% of samples tested are positive for Lassa virus (LASV) antigen and/or LASVspecific IgM; thus, 60%-70% of these patients have acute diseases of unknown origin. To investigate what other arthropod- borne and hemorrhagic fever viral diseases might cause serious illness in this region and mimic Lassa fever, we tested patient serum samples that were negative for malaria parasites and LASV. Using IgM-capture ELISAs, we evaluated samples for antibodies to arthropod-borne and other hemorrhagic fever viruses. Approximately 25% of LASV-negative patients had IgM to dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever, chikungunya, Ebola, and Marburg viruses but not to Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus.
Petitdemange C.,Paris-Sorbonne University |
Wauquier N.,Paris-Sorbonne University |
Wauquier N.,Metabiota |
Vieillard V.,Paris-Sorbonne University |
And 2 more authors.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology | Year: 2015
After several decades of epidemiologic silence, chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has recently re-emerged, causing explosive outbreaks and reaching the 5 continents. Transmitted through the bite of Aedes species mosquitoes, CHIKV is responsible for an acute febrile illness accompanied by several characteristic symptoms, including cutaneous rash, myalgia, and arthralgia, with the latter sometimes persisting for months or years. Although CHIKV has previously been known as a relatively benign disease, more recent epidemic events have brought waves of increased morbidity and fatality, leading it to become a serious public health problem. The host's immune response plays a crucial role in controlling the infection, but it might also contribute to the promotion of viral spread and immunopathology. This review focuses on the immune responses to CHIKV in human subjects with an emphasis on early antiviral immune responses. We assess recent developments in the understanding of their possible Janus-faced effects in the control of viral infection and pathogenesis. Although preventive vaccination and specific therapies are yet to be developed, exploring this interesting model of virus-host interactions might have a strong effect on the design of novel therapeutic options to minimize immunopathology without impairing beneficial host defenses. © 2015 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
News Article | December 20, 2016
Each year, infectious diseases claim the lives of nearly 15 million people worldwide, including over 400,000 from food-borne illnesses alone. This results in a devastating emotional and financial impact, leading to billions of dollars in economic losses annually. In the year of the Zika virus, the continued threat of infectious diseases remains significant, which is why today, Metabiota, the pioneer in comprehensive epidemic risk analytics that help protect global health, is providing insight into what to expect in the year ahead. “While the risk landscape is constantly evolving, one thing remains constant – these epidemics can have devastating financial consequences for people, countries and corporations,” said Nalini Natarajan, vice president of Product and Data Analytics at Metabiota. “Metabiota is steadfast in leveraging our expertise to deliver new solutions to this problem, and with our powerful combination of data, analytics and scientific advisory services, we are helping organizations worldwide assess, quantify and manage their global exposure to livestock and human infectious diseases.” With 200 years of combined experience in infectious disease surveillance, research, and analytics, Metabiota is establishing partnerships with the food industry, governments and insurance providers to help improve the world’s resilience to pathogen risk. Metabiota recognizes a number of factors that will likely contribute to an increased risk of high profile infectious disease outbreaks in 2017. 1. The climate change risk - we haven’t seen the last of the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. With 2016 as the hottest year ever recorded, and 2017 at risk of following suit, we anticipate mosquito populations will continue to expand in areas where they previously could not survive, potentially carrying viruses, like Zika, with them. This also brings the risk of other mosquito-borne viruses, like yellow fever and dengue. Extreme weather events that cause significant rainfall may also make conditions more amenable for mosquitoes to breed in affected regions and as a result, may increase disease risk in those areas. 2. The population migration risk - breakdown in healthcare systems in conflicted regions leads to resurgence of preventable diseases. Civil conflict, like those happening in the Middle East and Central Africa, can lead to the breakdown of healthcare systems. These crises can negatively impact public health, resulting in an increased number and scale of disease outbreaks in both human and animal populations. Under these situations, health and aid workers are unable to reach vulnerable populations, potentially leading to the return of vaccine-preventable disease, such as polio and measles. Reduced access to clean water, adequate nutrition, and standard medical care can further increase these individuals' risk of contracting and spreading cholera or tuberculosis. 3. The human encroachment risk - the growing intersection of human and animal populations will cause more wildlife disease crossover into humans. As the global population grows, and trade and travel is expanded worldwide, humans are encroaching into previously uninhabited areas due to land-use changes and extractive industries (e.g. mining, oil, etc.). Because of this change, we may see an increased risk of disease spillover from wildlife into human and livestock populations. Over 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases come from animals, and this increased human-animal contact, along with increased global mobility, means pathogens are now more likely to emerge in humans and can more easily and quickly transmit outside of local areas. We observed this during the 2013-2016 West Africa Ebola epidemic. 4. The global agriculture risk - changes in the agricultural system worldwide will threaten livestock populations. Agricultural intensification, driven by the growing demand for animal protein, and a more inter-connected supply chain, will create an increased potential for pathogens to spread and threaten livestock industries. Moreover, we expect global livestock populations to continue to be at greater risk of emerging pathogens, such as avian influenza, African swine fever, and foot and mouth disease. As we approach the close of 2016, Europe continues to battle introductions of both avian influenza and African swine fever into its poultry and pig populations, leading to large-scale economic losses. 5. The antibiotic-resistant bacteria risk – the spread of new pathogens that are immune to today’s antibiotics. In a recently published study, carbapenem antibiotic-resistant bacteria were recovered from an industrial U.S. swine production environment. This finding is particularly troubling given that carbapenems represent the last line of antibiotic defense against drug-resistant bacteria. “Although this bacteria has been detected in European and Asian livestock, and are known to cause life-threatening infections in the U.S., this is the first time that these resistant organisms have been identified in association with the U.S. livestock production,” said Dr. Edward Rubin, chief science officer at Metabiota. “There is no evidence at this time that this bacteria has infiltrated the U.S. food supply chain; however, these findings raise serious concerns about a potential new pathway for the transfer of foodborne, drug-resistant bacteria in the United States. This further underscores the critical importance of understanding the future of risk, and how it is transmitted, in 2017 and beyond.” For more insights, please visit: http://metabiota.com/ About Metabiota Metabiota is the pioneer in comprehensive risk analytics that help protect global health. Built on a strong foundation of scientific expertise, including a worldwide network of on-the-ground experts, Metabiota delivers actionable, data-driven analytics to help countries and corporations mitigate complex health issues. With a strategic global presence and sustained partnerships, Metabiota’s agile approach helps identify, analyze and transfer the risk associated with biological threats. The company’s international footprint includes operations in 30 countries and offices in San Francisco, Washington, China, Canada, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For more information, visit http://www.metabiota.com.
News Article | January 20, 2015
Metabiota Pulls In $30 Million In Funding To Help Predict The Global Spread Of Disease Disease outbreak prediction startup Metabiota has raised $30 million in Series A funding to help build out its offerings to government organizations and insurers on a global scale. The San Francisco startup uses computer modeling to predict and prevent disease outbreaks in populations throughout the world, including Africa and Asia. It does this by collecting data from various communities and regional clinics to map out where a disease might strike next. Metabiota technology has played a fundamental role in helping the Sierra Leone government stem Ebola outbreaks in the country. READ MORE… A group of virus hunters in San Francisco may be closer to changing the way insurers, companies and countries deal with the risk of another Ebola outbreak. Their company, Metabiota Inc., uses a staff of epidemiologists and researchers in 20 countries to provide forecasts and data on outbreaks. Most of its clients are U.S. READ MORE… Mikiko Senga, a WHO epidemiologist specializing in emerging diseases was sent to Kenema, Sierra Leone in early June 2014 to gather data about the Ebola outbreak. There she found herself trying to make sense of information coming in a variety of ways, from bits of paper, blood samples, hospital records, and soon realised she was facing an outbreak about to catch fire. She called for help and, with colleagues who came to support her, set about developing ways to document and understand the size and nature of the Ebola outbreak racing through the district. Here is her story. Read More… Nathan Wolfe: On the Hunt for New Viruses Having spent years living in Africa, at times trekking through the forest to work with hunters exposed to animal diseases, he’s not particularly squeamish about being near dangerous viruses. “Most people who go into my business aren’t germaphobes,” he says with a laugh. Sitting at home in his colorful San Francisco living room, what most worries him are “the things that haven’t appeared yet,” he says. “If there was something that kept me up at night, it likely would be an agent that had the capacity to spread, with the symptoms only coming sometime later.” READ MORE… Five Year Final Report | UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine | One Health Institute The appearance and spread of diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Ebola virus disease (EVD), and pandemic influenza, have had profound global health impacts and adverse ramifications for human livelihoods and broader scale economics. The lives lost and financial consequences have illustrated our vulnerability to the emergence and reemergence of infectious diseases and the disappearing boundaries between the developing and developed world. READ MORE… Metabiota Awarded Funding By European Commission To Help in Fight Against Ebola SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Metabiota Inc., announced today that the European Commission (EC) has awarded funding to the Company to work with European and Canadian collaborators on an advanced project aimed at validating both a highly sensitive diagnostic test and an extremely promising treatment for Ebola virus disease (EVD), which will help decrease the number of deaths and prevent further spread of the disease. Funding is based on a grant through The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation - Horizon 2020, the largest EC Research and Innovation Programme, with nearly €80 billion of available funding over the next seven years. Metabiota is the first U.S. subcontractor to be selected by the EC for an important endeavor of this nature. READ MORE… LONG BEFORE THE EBOLA OUTBREAK BEGAN, THE METABIOTA TEAM WAS THERE The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the first Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic of West Africa and is, historically, the largest outbreak, with more than 10,000 infected by the virus in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone (according to the World Health Organization-WHO). To date, over 5,000 people have died, and the outbreak continues to grow at an alarming rate. READ MORE… The real way to control Ebola is to stop the fear and misunderstanding It was with heavy hearts that we learned Tuesday of the death of our colleague and friend Dr. Sheik Hummar Khan. Dr. Khan devoted his life to controlling hemorrhagic fever viruses, like the Ebola virus that brought his life to a brutally short end. His loss adds to the mounting numbers of our colleagues who have been taken by the current West African Ebola outbreak: Alex Moigboi, Iye Gborie, Mbalu Fonnie, Sahr Niokor. They were brave people who died in the service of their communities and their countries. Three other health workers are now positive for Ebola. We pray that they recover from this deadly disease. Read More…
News Article | March 20, 2014
Metabiota, a company that monitors viral disease threats around the world, just landed $2.38 million in funding, according to a recent SEC filing. The company, known by the more explicit name the Global Viral Forecasting Inc. until July 2012, was founded by Nathan Wolfe, a daring virologist who almost died of malaria collecting data in Africa. His audacity landed him on TIME magazine’s 2011 TIME 100 list. Wolfe’s company specializes in tracking global diseases on a microscopic level. Metabiota is led by doctors, medical researchers, and anthropologists; and the specialist influence is clear from the get-go. The company’s namesake is a microbiological term referring to a stable relationship between a group of hosts and the microbes that inhabit them. The health-tech company’s highest profile works include working with USAID on the PREDICT project alongside a consortium of other health organizations, using big data to seek out emerging diseases among animals in hopes of preventing their spread among humans after the outbreak of the H1N1 virus in 2009. As part of the PREDICT project, they also help to respond to outbreaks and educate residents in viral areas about the diseases they face. As health-related startups spring up left and right in personal fitness and chronic-disease tracking, Metabiota has carved out its niche by bringing big data analysis to the global health sector. This for-profit company also has a not-for-profit branch called Global Viral, which focuses on the education aspect of the organizations’ three-pronged approach to disease containment. Metabiota and Global Viral started out as a non-profit in 2008 with seed funding from Google and the Skoll Foundation. Currently, Metabiota has offices in San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Guangzhou, China, as well as outposts for data collection in other parts of Asia and Africa. Metabiota spokesperson Ash Casselman declined to comment on the funding.
News Article | March 21, 2014
Metabiota aims to assess and respond to infectious disease threats through pathogen discovery, disease detection, and threat characterization. Our pioneering science begins in viral hot spots where we conduct endemic and epidemic outbreak investigations.