Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been multiple clinical trials conducted to find a cure or vaccine. While some of these ventures are being funded by government agencies, others rely on private sources or donations. With company share prices rising and falling depending on announcements related to vaccines and treatments, tech entrepreneurs are reportedly eyeing a big prospect. Several are supposedly switching their existing ones, while others are establishing new startups to focus on solutions for the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Tech pundits point out that discussions within a community called COVID Accelerator provide startups with information about funding. Jared Friedman of Y Combinator stated: "The current situation is creating an unprecedented change to consumer behavior." He also noted that "there are huge opportunities for new products to help people with our new daily reality," as reported by CNN.

In the past, two startups from Y Combinator – Airbnb and Stripe – were funded during the financial crisis in 2008. Both eventually found success, which proves that even during an economic downturn, there are still ways to overcome the challenges.

Around March, Y Combinator worked with 12 investment firms who were interested in businesses involved in COVID-19. It was estimated that around $30 million was involved, but it is yet to be updated with the final numbers.

Venture capital group Fifty Years founding partner Seth Bannon confirmed that it has invested over $13.5 million in projects such as automated COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and treatments among others. COVID Accelerator was founded by Tito Jankowski and Eri Gentry on March 12. The platform allows people who share a like-minded drive to fight against SARS-CoV-2.

On the other hand, Stanford Graduate School of Business professor of finance and economics Anat Admati cautions against the dangers of rushing certain procedures. "One has to remember that Silicon Valley, even biotech, they are very impatient," she said.

The coronavirus pandemic has hammered Latin America.
The coronavirus pandemic has hammered Latin America, with Brazil the latest epicentre of the disease Photo: AFP / TARSO SARRAF

An example from a related article talks about the recently concluded study related to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as viable COVID-19 treatments. U.S. President Donald Trump was among many of the high-profile personalities who endorsed the drugs. Findings from clinical trials eventually highlighted the dangers associated with its use.