The Nucleic Acid Observatory is an organization that aims to prevent global catastrophic biological risks by detecting novel agents spreading in the human population or environment. Their goal is to achieve reliable early detection of any biological threat by collecting wastewater and other environmental samples at airports and other sites, performing unbiased metagenomic sequencing, and analyzing the resulting data with novel pathogen-agnostic detection algorithms. It is part of the Sculpting Evolution group at the MIT Media Lab.

Further reading

Bradshaw, William, Michael McLaren & Anjali Gopal (2022) Announcing the Nucleic Acid Observatory project for early detection of catastrophic biothreats, Effective Altruism Forum, April 29.

The Nucleic Acid Observatory Consortium (2021) A global nucleic acid observatory for biodefense and planetary health, arXiv:2108.02678.

Nucleic Acid Observatory. Official website.

biosecurity | biosurveillance | global catastrophic biological risk