Zika Innovation Hack-a-thon

               An urgent call to develop innovations that address the spread of the Zika virus and other vector-borne diseases

Attention designers, engineers, clinicians and all innovators! We need your knowledge and expertise for a 48-hour hack-a-thon to create new product concepts, design novel personal protective equipment and develop new methods for local vector control that will help bend the curve of the Zika epidemic and similar outbreaks. Join us and be part of the solution!

Event Information

April 2 -3, 2016
The Richard B. Simches Research Center
Massachusetts General Hospital
185 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02114
 3rd Floor
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Emergency Contact: Amy Wachler – awachler@partners.org

Zika Innovation Hack-a-thon Challenges

These clinical challenges were sourced from our network of healthcare experts specializing in infectious disease control around the world. Participants are welcome to work beyond what is listed below!


Theme -The MosquitoFor decades, killing disease-transmitting mosquitos and their eggs by use of chemicals has been the main mechanism for prevention of vector-borne illnesses such as Malaria, Dengue and now Zika. This can be expensive, time consuming, and complicated. Current attempts to curtail Zika and other vector-borne illnesses focus on genetically modified mosquitos, but this has not yet proved to be an effective intervention. What are other innovative, easily accessible, timely, and affordable methods to disrupt the life cycle of the mosquito and protect people? What are new ways to approach vector control?
Theme - The Person

There is a need for safer, more effective personal protective gear that can guard against vector-borne diseases, especially in the home and workplace. How can we think beyond chemically treated skin, clothing, and bednets? What are some alternative ways to alter living environments and workspaces so that people are less susceptible to exposure, vector bites, and disease transmission? How can we recognize exposure and diagnose the disease more quickly and efficiently?
Theme - The Clinic

Diagnosing the Zika virus is complex, because often the symptoms overlap with other vector-borne diseases like Dengue and Chikungunya. Healthcare providers and lab researchers are still trying to understand how to correctly identify, treat and communicate with patients about Zika. How can we improve the patient experience and support healthcare workers with better innovations to treat Zika?
Theme - The CommunityThe public health response is an integral part of dealing with vector-borne illnesses and affected populations. A key aspect to a rapid and effective response involves developing novel approaches to diagnose and track outbreaks, as well as collecting and reporting data in real time. We need faster and more efficient ways of communicating risks, which includes utilizing mobile technology and social messaging to aid in the public health response. How do we bend the bio-surveillance curve to our advantage?
Theme - The Future The frequency of infectious disease outbreaks continues to increase. Climate change and rapid and chaotic urbanization have elevated our risk of contracting vector-borne illnesses. Rapidly responding to such threats - in part through open-innovation in which collective thought across disciplines is championed - will be increasingly important to mitigate risks, improve health, and save lives. How might we course-correct, predict future outbreaks, and improve our response to future threats?

Click here for a list of hack shop materials available in the Hack Shop!