DNAstack launches new tool to help scientists share genomic data on COVID-19

DNAstack has launched a new tool for scientific and medical communities to share and discover knowledge about the genetics of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The tool, which is being called the COVID-19 Beacon, is available on DNAstack’s website.

“The global opportunity to aggregate, track and share real-time data across medical communities has enormous potential to unlock a cure.”

Researchers can use the beacon to discover sequences with specific genetic mutations and chart their geographic and evolutionary origins. DNAstack’s platform uses data from genetic sequencing libraries and links that data to pathogen evolution visualizations. The company said sharing genomic information over a cloud-based global network has the potential to improve the world’s knowledge quickly, and inform new ways to fight the virus.

“There is an urgent need to respond to this virus in a coordinated way and we urge researchers and clinicians worldwide to openly share genetic and other biological data to fight COVID-19,” said Marc Fiume, CEO of DNAstack. “What we know about the virus is changing hourly as researchers and clinicians accumulate and analyze data.”

The COVID-19 Beacon is compliant with the Beacon API, an international open-source protocol developed by the Global Alliance for Genomic and Health. The tool can be used on Microsoft Azure.

Toronto-based DNAstack is part of the Digital Technology Supercluster, which manages investments provided by the Government of Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative and the public and private organizations that constitute its membership.

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DNAstack’s new tool comes as the federal government added a new requirement to innovation program, including the Superclusters, tasking them with prioritizing funding and support towards goods and services that can aid with the fight against COVID-19. TheInnovation Superclusters are being asked to tap into their networks to help companies commercialize products more quickly.

“DNAstack has demonstrated remarkable leadership in their innovative and collaborative approach towards finding a solution for COVID-19,” said Sue Paish, CEO, Digital Technology Supercluster. “The global opportunity to aggregate, track and share real-time data across medical communities has enormous potential to unlock a cure for the virus.”

Image source DNAStack

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.