On New Year’s Eve, the software company BlueDot pushed out a notification to its customers about a mysterious illness that appeared in Wuhan, China.
The start-up, which grew out of Dr. Kamran Khan’s research at the University of Toronto, combines natural language processing and machine learning to gather insights on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases around the globe. BlueDot was the first to warn the world of a potentially dangerous new illness – now known as COVID-19 – ringing the alarm before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did on Jan. 6 and before the World Health Organization followed suit three days later.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, Shrey Jain and his University of Toronto classmates received notice that all their courses were moving online two weeks ago – and they saw an opportunity.
Jain is the leader of Flatten.ca, a volunteer-driven push to leverage big data in the fight against COVID-19. In just over a week, he and more than 25 other collaborators created an online platform that provides a real-time heat map of potential and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
A University of Toronto alumnus is behind a biotech firm that could soon be bringing portable COVID-19 tests to communities across the country — and ultimately around the world.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced the federal government is working with Spartan Bioscience — led by CEO Paul Lem — to adapt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 DNA test to its own Spartan Cube. Lem predicts the mobile, hand-held diagnostic kit, which provides test results in just 30 minutes, could be ready for this use in as few as eight weeks.
The University of Toronto is gearing up for its fourth annual Entrepreneurship Week, a celebration of U of T entrepreneurs and their startups.
Running from March 9 to 13, Entrepreneurship Week features an array of events hosted by U of T’s campus-linked startup incubators and accelerators, as well as other programming by U of T and its government and non-profit partners. There are startup showcases, pitch competitions, keynote talks, workshops, networking events and more.