A billion molecules against COVID-19

The Joint European Disruptive Initiative is launching the Billion Molecules against COVID-19 Grand Challenge, with grants of up to 2 million Euros for the winners

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Our friends at the Joint European Disruptive Initiative (JEDI) have this message for the community:

Open to the best scientific & technology teams in the world, this initiative has one objective: to screen billions of molecules with blocking interactions relevant to SARS-CoV-2, and fast-track the route to a therapeutic treatment. The current major health crisis has highlighted the need for strong anticipation, interdisciplinarity and massive agility. 

This is the first-ever DARPA-type (Advanced Research Projects Agency) challenge in Europe at the intersection of epidemiology, high performance computing, molecular
biology and artificial intelligence. Strong support has been provided by our first global partners, AXA Research Fund and Merck.

We call upon more private and public partners to join this unique and global initiative.
JEDI has brought together an exceptional Scientific Committee with major scientific figures from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Another unique aspect of this Grand Challenge is the involvement of the larger scientific community that we call upon to provide feedback on the Grand Challenge & our success metrics until the formal launch of the Grand Challenge mid April.

If you are interested in this, go to the JEDI COVID-19 page.

Ben Johnson

Magazine Editor, Nature Medicine, Springer Nature

I trained as a virologist, starting with an undergraduate degree in virology from the University of Warwick, UK. My PhD, in influenza virus genetics and immunoevasion, was from Public Health England and the University of Reading, UK, with Maria Zambon and Wendy Barclay. My research interests then moved to smallpox vaccines, viral ion channels and cell adhesion, while a postdoc at Imperial College London with Geoffrey Smith, FRS. I then joined open-access publisher BioMed Central in 2011 as an editor and then associate publisher and was Head of Communities & Engagement at Springer Nature from 2016, running the Nature Research Communities and other online engagement activities for researchers. I joined Nature Medicine in 2021, with responsibility for news and opinion content, and am based in the London office.