The Importance of Technology in the Fight Against COVID-19
The development and implementation of technology solutions aimed at combating the COVID-19 outbreak are rapidly taking shape around the world. Governments, Venture Capitalists, Academic Institutions, Incubators, Startups, and businesses large and small are all doing their part to deploy new innovative solutions as quickly as possible.
Governments are developing and modifying policies old and new to promote the rapid development of technologies that can help eliminate the Coronavirus. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), for example, now allows companies to channel their mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spending towards helping fund new innovative technologies that will aid in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Social Impact Team at Invest India is augmenting the efforts of the MCA by collating a repository of CSR eligible innovations that can help in testing, curing and prevention of COVID-19. For more information regarding the repository of CSR eligible innovations, take a look at the CSR Funding for Technology Incubators blog or contact the Social Impact Team at Invest India: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The United States has, as another example, enacted the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), allowing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite the use of new medical devices during public health emergencies. This is now enabling companies to deploy medical devices to market at a rapid and much needed pace.
Abbott Laboratories recently developed a portable 5-minute COVOID-19 test kit the size of a toaster. The test kit, which received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), is now being used across the U.S. and production will ramp to 50,000 tests a day by the second week of April. This crucial innovation will help clear the huge backlog of untested patients and doctors, giving health officials a chance to finally get ahead of the virus.
India’s top Venture Capitalists, which include Sequoia Capital, Accel, Matrix Partners, Kalaari Capital and others, along with prominent angel investors are setting up an INR 100 cr fund to support startups developing products and services aimed at helping contain the virus. This is a welcoming sign for the startup community as their business ecosystem has been badly affected by the outbreak: from disrupted supply chains to lack of funding.
Despite these difficulties, startups are still making an impact in the fight, especially in the ventilator product space. With the global demand for ventilators skyrocketing, AgVa Healthcare, an innovative Indian startup building cost-effective portable ventilators, is working to manufacture 20,000 ventilators over the coming month. Isinnova, an Italian based startup, designed a 3D-printed valve that turns snorkeling masks into ventilators and shared their 3D-printing designs online for free!
Other startups, such as CarbonHealth and BabyScripts, are working to disseminate credible, trustworthy, and relevant information about COVID-19 to individuals, to families, and even to expecting mothers.
Even large established companies are using their technology to help circulate trustworthy information; Apple and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a new screening tool to help people stay informed and take the proper steps to protect their health during the spread of COVID-19.
There are many many other such innovations and efforts being made around the world to help fight the spread of COVID-19. If you are interested in how you can contribute to the containment of COVID-19, please refer to the State and National funds accepting donations for COVID-19, List of NGOs providing relief during COVID-19, and Channelizing CSR to Battle COVID-19: Initiatives by Invest India blogs by the Social Impact Team at Invest India.