LLNL has a long history of leveraging unique capabilities and expertise for a variety of mission-critical challenges. Several specialized resources are being leveraged to support the fight against COVID-19.
Mobile (truck-mounted) biolaboratory
- We maintain a truck-mounted biolaboratory for emergency deployments. This mobile laboratory is outfitted with a one-pass HEPA-filtered glovebox, three Class II biosafety cabinets, two autoclaves, freezers, robotics for liquid handling, PCR machines and standard biolab equipment.
Biosafety Level 3 laboratory
- Onsite at LLNL is a Biosafety Level 3 laboratory that enables efficient testing of promising therapeutic candidates for pathogens such as COVID-19.
Genomic sequencing and bioinformatics
- We have state-of-the-art DNA sequencing capabilities to perform viral sequencing to identify outbreak strains, mutations and genes from COVID-19 infected patients. Our bioinformatics tools use the new sequence information to conduct rapid transmission tracing, analyze phylogenetic relationships and design sensitive signatures for DNA-based diagnostic assays.
3D printing and rapid prototyping
- Our engineering research efforts and capabilities can support a broad range of response activities, including:
- Additive manufacturing, material development, systems design and design optimization
- Nanoscale implantable devices, biocompatible materials and electro-bio interfaces
- Design, fabrication, characterization, packaging and integration of biological micro- and nano-systems
- Design and development of tiny electromechanical devices, electronics, photonics, structures and actuators
- LLNL is a founding member of the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) consortium, a partnership with the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, the University of California, San Francisco and GlaxoSmithKline. The consortium has successfully demonstrated new computational approaches for rapidly designing new drug molecules for cancer therapies in weeks (rather than years). These new design tools are being applied to optimization of the safety and effectiveness of potential drug molecules discovered in large-scale COVID-19 computational screens.
- The American Heart Association (AHA) and LLNL have formed a strategic business partnership to overcome the burden of drug discovery, cost and access. The two organizations will leverage the world’s most powerful supercomputers to accelerate drug discovery. LLNL scientists and engineers in collaboration with AHA-funded scientists will create a simulated environment that rapidly and precisely predicts how drugs bind to their target proteins and will test these predictions in experimental systems to generate a robust drug pipeline of new and targeted therapies.
Onsite and remote operations
- When LLNL went into “minimum safe operations” on March 17, 2020, it experienced the unprecedented transition of onsite staff becoming offsite remote workers basically overnight. The Livermore Information Technology (LivIT) Program was instrumental in identifying, developing, and implementing the tools necessary to support Lab operations so employees could perform their duties whether working from home or onsite. Read more about workforce safety, telecommuting, and cybersecurity protocols via the LLNL Computing website: COVID-19 Operations.
- Also key were changes to the operations and maintenance of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), a unique facility that provides the scientific community with an unprecedented capability for studying materials at extreme pressures, temperatures, and densities. Read more about remote NIF operations via the LLNL Computing website: NIF Remote Software Updates.