Well, it might seem odd, yet Coronavirus is soon becoming a new boom area for Silicon Valley. The CEO of Artificial Intelligence research lab OpenAI, Sam Altman, extended a helping hand financially by offering to fund COVID-19 projects.
In his blog, Altman said that there would be enough testing capacity. He is on the lookout for startups that could quickly produce a lot of ventilators, masks or gowns, screening existing drugs for effectiveness, novel approach to vaccines, and also different therapeutics that are not developed by big pharma companies.
Altman has asked all startups to fill out a spreadsheet that would be available publicly, and any potential investor could read that. As of now, the spreadsheet has been filled by 50 existing companies and a dozen ideas. These were mostly from at-home detection tests to ozone generators that can quickly fumigate aircraft.
Just last year, Altman stepped down as the President of Silicon Valley’s accelerator Y Combinator, in order to concentrate on OpenAI. It seems that he has already started betting on startups that are tackling coronavirus.
He had invested in Helix Nanotechnologies, a Massachusetts-based firm. Helix Nanotechnologies has spent the last two years on developing a new cancer vaccine, but now would be focussing on the mutations of coronavirus that are likely to emerge next year.
White House Says
Amid all this, the White House has pleaded tech companies in the Valley to develop tech that can tackle coronavirus. Altman had suggested that there must be a month-long shutdown funded by a $1,000 lump sum for the government to everyone, in order to cover their expenses, followed by a deferral on rent and mortgage payment.
He even said that the first week of June is likely to be normal. With the recent pandemic, it seems that everything has come to a halt. With moves like these, it may be expected that there would be more and more disruptions in the tech space.