agencies are underway. You could see this device in use within a few months and have testing results within hours instead of days. It could be especially useful in low-income communities and developing countries where access to testing is challenging. How is Schmidt Futures involved in the development of infor- mation platforms that will offer productive solutions? In addition to the work I’ve mentioned, we’ve also funded the development of tech-enabled tools that can help the medical community be better prepared for the ongoing spike of COVID cases. For example, we funded EdX and Learning Agency to develop an online training to help increase the number of medical professionals who can operate ventilators. The first course is being offered by Harvard University, and so far, over 220,000 medical professionals have enrolled. We have also invested in informational platforms that make it easier to contain the spread of the disease, such as our work with Recidiviz to model the impact of COVID-19 in prisons and outline policy steps states could take to limit the spread. Information platforms can also play a big part pushing for- ward scientific research into the virus. For example, we’ve funded the UC Santa Cruz Virus Browser, which allows researchers to examine each piece of the virus and see the proteins it creates, the interactions in the host cell, and — most importantly — almost everything the recent scientific literature has to say about that stretch of the molecule. The scale of research collaboration and the speed of innova- tion today seem unprecedented. The whole science world has turned its attention to combating the pandemic. What posi- tive big-picture trends do you think or hope will persist once the crisis eventually abates? As in many areas, the COVID crisis has accelerated trends in the scientific world that were already well underway. For in- stance, this moment has propelled broad movements toward open publication and open sharing of data and samples— something that has always been a core belief in how we support and advance science.
An Exclusive Interview with Wendy Schmidt
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