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Vienna Covid-19 Detection Initiative (VCDI)

17 Sep 2020

The Vienna Covid-19 Detection Initiative (VCDI) was formed as a collaborative, inter-institutional effort to combat the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Its strucure and mission has now been laid out.

The initiative of research institutes at the Vienna BioCenter and the University of Vienna has repurposed existing resources and expertise, and invested in new infrastructure to develop capacities for detecting SARS-CoV-2.

The VCDI and its stakeholders promote a strategy for frequent, large-scale population screening to avoid further lockdowns and damage caused by uncontrolled spreading of the virus through asymptomatic individuals. To this end, VCDI scientists are committed to developing novel, faster and cheaper approaches to detect SARS-CoV-2.

Since April, a PCR testing pipeline is in operation that is currently consolidated and expanded within the Vienna BioCenter Core Facilities to allow for a capacity of about 6000 tests per day. Testing capacity is provided for humanitarian initiatives of broader public interest.

The initiative freely disseminates its know-how, operating procedures and latest developments. The VCDI is supported  by the University of Vienna (Max Perutz LaboratoriesCentre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science, Division of Microbial Ecology DOME), the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology IMP (Boehringer Ingelheim), Institute of Molecular Biotechnology IMBA and Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology GMI (both Austrian Academy of Sciences); and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research a grant from the COVID-19 Rapid Response Call of the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF).

The VCDI activities are overseen by a supervisory board and operated by the Vienna BioCenter Core Facilities.

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