COVID 19 a challenge for Canadian Photonics
It has been a year since we have been plunged in this pandemic and it has affected our entire lives from work to travel and the economy.
Countries and governments have struggled to respond to this challenge and find a balance to bring us as close to normal (what we are used to in our daily lives) as possible.
We have failed and paid the price for our failure (lives and livelihoods lost in the pandemic), but we have developed resilience and showed innovation in our response to the challenge.
Here is how the photonics community in Canada has responded, detailed in an article in Laser focus world published on January 27, 2021, by Robert V. Chimenti titled Optic and photonics enable the fight against covid.
This article's focus is as the author states in his conclusion "on the application of photonics in COVID-19 testing. Still, it is essential to understand that photonics also plays a critical role in many other aspects of the fight against COVID-19, from UV-C disinfection systems5,6 to photodynamic therapy.7
The initial sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 genome would not have been possible without fluorescence-based DNA sequencing. In correspondence withJean-François Masson(Chemistry Professor at the University of Montreal and CTO at Affinité Instruments (both in Montreal, QC, Canada)), he pointed out that "15 years ago, it would have taken weeks to decipher the sequence and 25 years ago, it would have taken years." Masson went on to say, "Only because of next-generation sequencing were we able to react so quickly with vaccines, therapies, and other mitigation measures."
With all of this in mind, there is no doubt that photonics will continue to enable not only the next-generation technologies for this current pandemic but will play a critical role in combating pathogens for the foreseeable future ".
The government support is definitely what is needed by the Photonics companies and institutions and as shown in the press release from March 4, 2021 the DND steps up.
"Leveraging the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program, DND announced today 48 new contribution agreements, valued at approximately $8.64 million, to support research and development efforts in the realm of COVID-19.
The contribution agreements address four specific challenge areas, which were developed in consultation with Government of Canada partners: sanitization of workspaces; pandemic decision-making; re-using protective equipment; and moral trauma on the frontline. "