Guest post by Chris Rehkamp

Did you know Kansas City researchers and physicians are working to solve the pandemic’s most pressing and complex problems?

When you think of the next medical device, vaccine or COVID-19 treatment, you might think of the Mayo Clinic, a lab in Boston or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but right here in the Kansas City region, we have cutting-edge labs and researchers working hard to address the pandemic.

In fact, the UMKC Technology Venture Studio’s Whiteboard2Boardroom program works with 23 local research institutions, corporations and hospitals to help bring the latest innovations to market. Through the Comeback KC Ventures program, Whiteboard2Boardroom has focused many of its efforts on supporting the acceleration of COVID-related technologies.

Dr. Jingxin Wang at the University of Kansas developed one such technology, and it can effectively inhibit the viral lifecycle of SARS-Cov2. With further testing, this technology could have an enormous effect on the severity of COVID’s viral infection. Dr. Wang also aims to expand this solution as a platform to address future viral outbreaks.

Dr. Ye Wang and Dr. Yugyung Lee at the University of Missouri – Kansas City leveraged their expertise in natural language processing and machine learning to gain unique insights into the community’s willingness or unwillingness to adhere to vaccine recommendations.

Dr. Jared Staab and his team at Contagion Solutions, all physicians at University of Kansas Medical Center, developed the Arc Tent, a portable, affordable, disposable, rapidly deployable, negative pressure environment. This allows physicians and medical staff to deploy a personalized cleanroom in under 30 seconds, protecting all parties from viral spread.

Dr. Sejun Song and his team at the University of Missouri – Kansas City developed a vision-based machine-learning system that allowed them to assess the risk of a large gathering of people and the potential for spread of a respiratory virus.

And a team at Missouri S&T developed a tiny flexible virus sensor that can be embedded into masks. This technology, developed by Dr. Chengling Wu and his team has potential to test for respiratory virus, such at SARS-Cov2, quickly and accurately.

These physicians and researchers, when faced with the uncertainty of the global pandemic, worked quickly to apply their expertise in ways that could save lives now and in the future. We share these stories to celebrate and thank these individuals for their incredible efforts.

You can learn more about these technologies on our Technology Venture Studio Youtube Channel and in the news:

Dr. Wang’s Antiviral Compounds Against SARS-CoV-2
Dr. Wu’s Flexible Virus Sensor for COVID-19 and Flu
Contagion Solutions Arc Tent
Ai2Insight and MOSAIC stories

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