Digital Technology Supercluster Invests $60 Million to Fight COVID-19

Over 300 organizations have submitted a project proposals to help fight the pandemic.

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Need to Know

  • Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster has announced it is committing $60 million towards the fight against COVID-19.
  • The Supercluster consists of a network of over 500 organizations across Canada.
  • Projects include using AI to find an existing medication that could treat the virus and e-grocery shopping solutions to support vulnerable communities.

Analysis

Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster has announced it will be investing $60 million into delivering solutions to health and safety problems caused by COVID-19. 

The Supercluster, a network of over 500 organizations in a wide range of sectors, have joined together to submit over 300 ideas and proposals to address COVID-19 issues.

“Canadian businesses are answering the call to pull together and drive hard with solutions that will help us through the COVID-19 pandemic. We are deeply grateful to the hundreds of organizations that are answering this call, showing the world what a united ‘Team Canada’ can do,” said Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster. “Through innovation, Canadians will create and deliver leading technologies to overcome issues created by COVID-19 and to position us well to rebuild our economy in the future.”

The Supercluster is currently moving forward with four projects that will contribute to the health and safety of Canadians amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One project is from Toronto’s DNAstack. The data-based technology company has developed a cloud-based network called Beacon that allows researchers from around the world to securely share data, in an effort to improve all nations’ ability to diagnose and treat COVID-19 patients. 

“There is an urgent need to respond to this virus in a coordinated way and we urge researchers and clinicians worldwide to openly share genetic and other biological data to fight COVID-19,” said Marc Fiume, CEO of DNAstack. “What we know about the virus is changing hourly as researchers and clinicians accumulate and analyze data… The COVID-19 Beacon will allow information about genetic variants to be shared instantly using software that follows an open international standard.”

Another project on the go will support world health leaders in better predicting pandemics. Finger Food Advanced Technology Group and its partners are developing a tool that will predict regional needs, allowing for better planning and fast deployment of resources. 

In addition, Food X Technologies is developing a more efficient digital grocery management system that will support healthcare workers, the elderly, and others who cannot access fresh food in receiving top quality groceries throughout the pandemic. 

Vancouver’s Variational AI, who describes itself as “AI for drug discovery”, is working with adMare BioInnovations to apply AI to identify approved medications that can be used to more rapidly treat COVID-19 patients.

“An effective therapeutic for COVID-19 may already be available today,” said Handol Kim, Co-Founder & CEO of Variational AI Inc. “At Variational, we’re using our state-of-the-art generative artificial intelligence to rapidly find the best COVID-19 therapeutics among all these approved drugs so they can be tested in trials and delivered quickly to improve patient outcomes.”

The Supercluster’s COVID-19 program aims to find solutions to five main concerns: the health system, community health, safe living, diagnostics and therapeutics, and emergency response. Any member or associate of the Supercluster may apply via the group’s online portal. 

So far, the Canadian government has also invested $275 million in research towards the fight against the novel coronavirus. 

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