In April 2020, Genome Canada launched the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN). The goal of the VirusSeq component of CanCOGeN is to perform genomics surveillance by sequencing the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome in up to 150,000 individuals. The objective of this genomic surveillance is to track the virus spread, monitor for variants of concern (VOCs) that might impact transmissibility or disease severity and assist in outbreak analysis to inform public health and policy interventions. This is the first time that a large-scale genomic epidemiology initiative has been used to guide and inform the public health response to a pandemic in Canada, setting the stage for genomics to serve as a core tool for outbreak tracking in future pandemics. As part of its mandate, CanCOGeN is committed to rapid, transparent, and equitable data sharing practices that meet Canadian privacy and ethics regulations and standards to guide and inform the public health and policy response to COVID-19 and to enable both national and international research.
The purpose of this request for proposals is to adapt, or re-purpose, an existing platform to build a Canadian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Data Portal that will contain genomic sequences and minimal metadata and will facilitate broad access to this data. To protect the data and the confidentiality of people diagnosed with COVID-19, the de-hosted viral genome data and minimal metadata contained in the public Data Portal will not include any identifiable personal data. To the extent possible, data from the Data Portal will be deposited into global public databases, such as GISAID, to contribute to international efforts to track viral evolution. The overall objective of the Data Portal is to enhance the value of sequence data by creating an integrated dataset with minimal metadata and a real-time dashboard summarizing all SARS-CoV-2 genomic data available in Canada for the purpose of advancing research and informing public health at a national and international level.
More information about this initiative and how to apply is available here. BC Applicants are welcome to contact Ágnes Baross, Sector Manager, Health, for more information.