The GISAID Initiative’s mission and work is realized thanks to the support of many individuals and partner institutions that contribute their expertise, time, funds, staff and technology to ensure that genomic data can be shared rapidly and safely, and high quality bioinformatics tools made available to the public. We gratefully acknowledge the generous contribution of our partners who continue to work together to achieve global health security and understanding of infectious diseases.
After COVID-19 was identified as a newly emerging viral respiratory disease and the first hCoV-19 genomes were made available on 10th January 2020 to the scientific community on GISAID’s newly established EpiCoV™ platform, prestigious institutions around the globe came together by contributing experts to GISAID'S team of curators to ensure vast amounts of data could be reviewed and curated in real-time and annotated, prior to release. Their remarkable contribution was key to the unprecedented speed enabling real-time progress in the understanding of the new COVID-19 disease and in the research and development of candidate medical countermeasures.
The GISAID sharing mechanism and its data sharing platform are the result of a global collaboration of experts in their respective disciplines working together to facilitate rapid access to data of priority pathogens. The agreement governing the terms of access to and use of the GISAID platform was developed over 18-months (December 2006 through May 2008) in consultation with national public health, animal health and relevant governmental authorities, the influenza research community, and commercial developers of medical interventions.
Enabled by a grant from the Max-Planck-Foundation, the Max-Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, through its Department of Computational Biology and Applied Algorithmics, under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Thomas Lengauer, was GISAID's first technology partner, contributing substantially to the build up of the first EpiFlu database application. Concept and scientific guidance for the development was provided by experts from National Influenza Centers, WHO CC's and FAO-OIE reference labs.