New ideas to fight against Covid-19

Canada develops a range of innovative solutions to contribute to the fight against the pandemic of the new coronavirus and to help companies and people to overcome the period of sanitary crisis

By Sérgio Siscaro

The global spread of the new coronavirus, beginning in early 2020, has brought a number of challenges to countries, companies, and populations. These include health, economic, and social challenges, among others. Despite the differences in the ways of fighting the disease and living with the restrictions that it brought, one aspect was essential for the continuity of the businesses, the teaching activities, and the very domestic confinement of the people: the technology. Solutions for remote communication, detection of possible cases of Covid-19, and virtual means of payment were some of the ways to live with the health crisis.

Canada has benefited in the fight against the new coronavirus because of country-specific conditions, including the agility of testing the population, the readiness of many provinces and territories in adopting containment measures, and the discipline of the population in following the recommendations of health authorities. As a result, the country was ranked 13th in Bloomberg’s ranking among the 53 economies that have best managed this health crisis. And one of the factors that has contributed to achieving this is the development of technological solutions that allow, on the one hand, to combat Covid-19, and, on the other hand, to ensure to society the conditions to be as near as possible to normal.

Incentive to innovation

Before the health crisis, the country was already heavily committed to the development of research and innovation activities. As the pandemic spread, Canada created specific investment funds to support innovative companies, which were seeking ways to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19. This is the case with Innovative Solutions Canada, a program of the country’s federal government that allocates resources for the creation of solutions aimed at fighting the health crisis.

Also sponsored by the Canadian government, the already existing Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) seeks to accelerate innovative projects and has invested CAN$792 million under the Medical Countermeasures (MCM) initiative for the development of tests and vaccine production. Speed was an important requirement of the critical moment brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic: the first project, from Abcellera Biologics, was announced just 19 days after the start of project negotiations.