University of Toronto, Scarsin to collaborate on COVID decision support

Academic, private collaboration will support policymakers and healthcare
with best practices COVID decision support

Some of Canada’s leading pandemic readiness, response and resilience experts will join forces to support public health decision makers with powerful decision support and evidence-based reporting.

Researchers based at the University of Toronto’s Institute for Pandemics (IFP) will collaborate with Markham-based Scarsin Corporation to advise on and support the deployment of world-leading pandemic response tools, technology, research and training. 

“Our mandate is to bring together complimentary skill sets such as advanced modelling, health economics, geography and environmental epidemiology to create a centre of excellence for pandemic research, education and response,” explains Dr. David Fisman, Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and lead of the Institute for Pandemics Readiness cluster. “Scarsin’s solution gives us a powerful collaboration platform that underpins so much of this mandate.”

The collaboration will initially focus on supporting pandemic forecasts at the federal and provincial levels, built up from local health regions, including building scenarios that could inform a vaccination program in 2021. “We are absolutely thrilled to collaborate with globally recognized academic leadership at the University of Toronto and the IFP. In combination with our ready-to-go COVID-19 technology, we are excited to support public health decision making in Canada, immediately,” says Scarsin CEO and Founder, Paul Minshull. “We also believe this partnership will bring Canadian leadership to the world in the form of best practice decision support for pandemics.”

The collaboration will also develop best practice decision support frameworks and processes and publish peer-reviewed papers to advance the global discussion around pandemic response. “We’re looking forward to adding these tools to our ongoing advisory conversations with public health officials across Canada,” added Dr. Ashleigh Tuite, Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, and a member of the IFP. “This work will inform our public health curriculum development and ongoing work to improve public health outcomes.”

Scarsin is currently working with The Regional Municipality of York to support its pandemic response planning and has published a number of position papers and forecasts for various health regions in Canada.

The Scarsin COVID-19 decision support system is a comprehensive pandemic scenario modelling platform available today. It is able to integrate data from all of Canada’s 92 health regions and use advanced statistical and epidemiological forecasting algorithms to generate the comprehensive scenarios public health officials can use to assess factors including school openings, retail and restaurant shutdowns and vaccine deployment, and their impact to reported cases, hospitalizations and mortality. The solution also produces rich machine learning feature sets which can better inform downstream artificial intelligence (AI) applications.