Bringing together Canadian expertise to provide real-time monitoring of the COVID-19 virus.

Project Overview

Updated March 31, 2023.

The Problem

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, there is an urgent need to understand the DNA footprint of this rapidly evolving virus.

How We Are Solving It

Led by DNAstack, the COVID Cloud project harnesses Canada’s genomics research capabilities to rapidly sequence, share and analyze the genomic profile of COVID-19 and the people who have contracted it in Canada and around the world. This information will help inform the development of public health policies, diagnostics, therapies and vaccines. Many countries, including Canada, are mobilizing efforts to generate large volumes of genomic sequence data. However, significant challenges remain in using technology to harness the data and using the information to deliver timely insights.

COVID Cloud brings together Canadian expertise in areas such as genome science, infectious diseases, virology, software engineering, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, pharmaceuticals and policy to accelerate the development of a digital technology platform to provide near real-time monitoring of the virus’ evolutionary strains, transmission patterns, mutation rate and drug targets.

In addition to accelerating the response to COVID-19, the platform will serve as a springboard for further leveraging genomics and precision health in the years to come, including preparing for future waves and outbreaks of other infectious diseases.

The Result

This project delivered the COVID Cloud platform, rebranded by DNAstack as ViralAI, that enables the sharing of data using industry standards and provides scientists and decision makers with better information about COVID-19 derived from real-time genomics, clinical, epidemiological, and other data. Technical development of the COVID Cloud platform remains ongoing as partnerships have been established with both Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Ontario Genomics to deploy COVID Cloud as a solution to support provincial COVID surveillance and the effectiveness of public health measures. The COVID Cloud platform was selected by CanCOGeN to deliver, alongside other groups, a national data sharing platform that will enable countrywide variant surveillance.

In 2021, Genome Canada launched the Canadian VirusSeq Data Portal. Technology developed as part of the COVID Cloud project has been integrated into the portal, which continues to play an important role in Canada’s ability to manage current and future pandemics. This project also supported development and distribution of OICR’s Overture system for large-scale genomic data management and the Dockstore system for scientific workflow management. Both systems are now in use at multiple sites within and outside Canada.

Project Lead

  • dnastack@2x e1632890447273

Project Partners

  • biosymetrics e1632890467148
  • CGP e1632890485943
  • facit e1632890506269
  • genome@2x e1632647383283
  • ontariogenomics e1632890536873
  • mcmaster e1632890553752
  • mannin e1632890573648
  • ontariocancer e1632890593943
  • microsoft@2x e1632716841590
  • roche e1632807560464
  • sunnybrook e1632887913351
  • vectorinst e1632887952595

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