A global pandemic is something Joe DeRisi has been preparing for his entire career. What he didn’t expect was that the viral scourge would ravage so close to home. DeRisi was in the process of standing up sequencing technology to help researchers in ten low- to middle-income countries detect known, emerging or novel pathogens. In early January, during a visit to one such station in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, his cloud-based IDseq tool, developed for scanning metagenomics data, sequenced the first full length COVID-19 genome in country — in a few days, rather than the weeks it usually takes when samples are sent away for analysis.