When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, food insecurity issues were only exacerbated for Nisga’a members living on Coastal Ts’msyen Territories in northwestern BC, Prince Rupert, and Port Edward communities.
Even before the crisis, there were pressing challenges in addressing food security. For the past three years, the North Coast Innovation Lab, a place-based initiative by Ecotrust Canada, and the Gitmaxmak’ay Nisga’a Society, a social enterprise that supports members of the Nisga’a Nation living in Prince Rupert, collaborated on a Mitacs-funded project.
Quebec entrepreneur and former Mitacs intern Azadeh Dastmalchi developed a medical-grade smartwatch after struggling to find a device that could help her father monitor his hypertension. Now, in addition to targeting the one in three adults suffering from high blood pressure in North America, her company VitalTracer is pivoting its solution to assist with early detection and monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms.
Who could have foreseen that humanitarian activities during the 2010 earthquake in Haiti would, 10 years later, guide the way for researchers, entrepreneurs and Mitacs interns during the COVID-19 crisis?
During his deployment at a Red Cross field hospital after the earthquake, Dr. Abdo Shabah saw the potential for greater use of technology in emergency health interventions.
Long before hosting the second largest port in the Pacific, the territory around Prince Rupert, British Columbia, was home to the Metlakatla First Nation. Rich in resources and with a history of productive economic opportunities, this region has gone through many changes as a result of development projects and human activities, impacting not only the environment, but the wellbeing of the community.
As of July 27, 2020, the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases worldwide reached 16.3 million people, with 114,000 cases in Canada. About two to eight percent of COVID-19 cases experience severe symptoms that lead to respiratory distress, organ failure, and even death. Currently, regular medical checkups consist of one-on-one phone calls to monitor the patient’s vital signs remotely.
When we think of using technology to translate, clunky Google Translate phrases come to mind. Therefore, when it comes to carefully translating a story from one language to another, using technology may be a stretch. Add the nuances of cultural context to the equation, and the task becomes an even more complex challenge.
When the second wave of the Spanish flu hit Canada over 100 years ago, the effect was even more devastating than that of its first wave. In fact, 90 percent of the deaths happened in the fall of 1918, during the pandemic’s second peak.
When Gurudeeban Selvaraj and Satyavani Kaliamurthi came to Canada in 2019, they had no idea they would be creating both a preventative vaccine and a curing drug to address the millennium’s biggest pandemic.
As of May 27, 2020, there have been 2,925,466 infected COVID-19 patients reported worldwide, with a total of 355,727 deaths. The rapid progression of the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns regarding the short supply of medical equipment needed to control the rate of transmission and mortality. In most developing countries, transporting vaccines can be difficult without the proper storage technologies, since vaccines and equipment can spoil in high temperatures.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the total number of COVID-19 cases reached a high of 71,486 as of May 13, 2020 — with Ontario and Quebec collectively accounting for 83% of all cases and 92% of the Canadian death toll. With a mortality rate of 3.4%, COVID-19 has created an unprecedented — and growing — demand for a vaccine.