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.
The VCDI is supported by the Max Perutz Labs (Joint venture of the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna), the Centre for Microbiology and Environmental Systems Science, Division of Microbial Ecology (DOME; University of Vienna), the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology IMP (Boehringer Ingelheim), the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology IMBA and Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology GMI (both Austrian Academy of Sciences). Since April, a certified PCR testing pipeline is in operation that is operated jointly with the Vienna BioCenter Core Facilities to allow for a capacity of about 6000 tests per day.
The VCDI is coordinated by Alwin Köhler, Scientific Director of the Max Perutz Labs:
“Many labs were shut down during the lockdown in March 2020, the scientists sent home. But more and more came back, building a testing pipeline from scratch. I am proud of the energy, ingenuity and scientific excellence of all the basic researchers involved. They stepped up without a moment’s hesitation.”
The VCDI has received an emergency seed-funding by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWFT).