Missouri-based Health Innovation Company Awarded Grant to Fund COVID-19 Laboratory Training in Africa

MRIGlobal, a health innovation company based in Kansas City, Missouri, is at it again. The company has been on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. In March, MRIGlobal’s state-of-the-art biocontainment system was key in bringing 14 U.S. citizens who tested positive for COVID-19 home safely for medical treatment. Then in April, the company unveiled two new mobile labs that could help with the COVID-19 response. In late July, the company joined a collaborative effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

Now, the company is taking their expertise overseas after receiving a $250,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase expertise for diagnostics, epidemiology and COVID-19 disease surveillance in Africa. MRIGlobal plans to establish virtual training modules for laboratory and data analytics work related to COVID-19 epidemiology for use by labs partnered with Africa’s national public health network.

“This is the first time MRIGlobal has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” said Thomas Sack, Ph.D., President and CEO, MRIGlobal. “We’re delighted to apply our vast expertise in global health engagement as one solution to ensure that the world’s pandemic response is effective and equitable.”

MRIGlobal’s team members have been training diagnostic laboratory scientists, technicians, and healthcare professionals around the world for close to three decades to develop or supplement health surveillance capabilities. The current team will conduct remote training to laboratory staff through live streaming sessions and other routes of learning as appropriate to meet the needs and resources of each partner laboratory.

Missouri’s health innovation sector has been on full display these past several months as companies and research centers across Missouri have been on the front lines of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. From Missouri being highlighted by Vice President Mike Pence after launching its partnership with Google to help health care providers connect with Missouri manufacturers and suppliers of personal protective equipment; to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis announcing that it is launching a clinical trial to investigate the drug chloroquine to treat COVID-19; to Kansas City being chosen as the testing ground for an experimental coronavirus vaccine; Missouri is continuing to lead the way in the fight against COVID-19.

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