COVID 19 a Year into the pandemic and Canadian photonics
As we continue to struggle in this pandemic with cases rising all across Canada, with large lockdowns or circuit breakers in the most populous provinces, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.
The Government of Canada continues to implement its integrated Variants of Concern Strategy to undertake surveillance, sequencing, tracing, and research focused on the COVID-19 virus variants that have been identified in Canada.
March 26, 2021, an investment of $14.3 million from the Government of Canada was announced, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), to support new research on the COVID-19 virus variants. This support includes $5.3 million in supplementary funding for 90 ongoing COVID-19 projects and $9 million for a new national network that will coordinate and align variants research throughout the country.
The Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network (CoVaRR-Net ) will be led by Dr. Marc-André Langlois from the University of Ottawa.Dr. Langlois and his team will collaborate with the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Lab (NML), the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), provincial and territorial public health labs, and other national and international bodies.
CIHR will support additional research related to variants and other COVID-19 priorities through an ongoing competition that will invest up to $119 million more in COVID-19 research.
Canadian photonics companies were deemed essential early on in the pandemic because of the components and equipment they provide. The companies are supporting the telecommunication sector with its fiber backbone in delivering optical components (mux, de-mux, switches, sensors, lasers etc.). Photonics is part of the fight against COVID -19, as described in our previous article: "COVID-19 a challenge for Canadian Photonics".
Photonics technology is at the core of disinfection solutions with UV-C disinfection and treatment with photonics in vaccine and pharma development. Nevertheless, Canadian photonics companies struggle in having to adapt to a different way of doing business with the need of keeping their workers safe.
On April 6, 2021 was announced that Spartan Bioscience files for creditor protection after identifying 'issue' with COVID-19 test. The Ottawa company is laying off 60 workers( 70% of it's workforce) and pauses shipments of its portable device due to an undisclosed problem with the technology reports Laura Glowacki · CBC News.
Manufacturing plants and Warehouses were recently identified as COVID-19 spreaders. Essential workers young Canadians (20 to 40 years old) are landing in ICU with Variants of concern.
BDC, the Business Development Bank of Canada, a financial institution devoted to Canadian entrepreneurs, added to their website a page: Advice and tools to overcome the crisis.
Companies are advised on how to enter the digital transformation process and advanced manufacturing to benefit and become internationally competitive.