EDMONTON -- The provincial government is funding a number of COVID-19 research projects at two Alberta universities.

Alberta Innovates is giving a total of $2.1 million to seven projects at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary.

The projects that were chosen will focus on different issues related to the novel coronavirus, including the development of a rapid antibody detection device, designing serology testing and supporting continuing care facility caregivers.

"We're talking about the innovative steps being done right here in Alberta as it relates to COVID, as it relates to the research being done here that's so innovative because it relates to machine learning, AI, the ability to track how the COVID virus is spreading in real time with this technology," said Doug Schweitzer, Alberta's minister of jobs, economy and innovation. "The ability to administer anti-body testing faster, ability to alleviate pressures on our healthcare system through research and innovation."

The minister also argued that, on top of the health benefits for the province amid the pandemic, this funding will also create jobs and help the economy recover.

Alberta's advanced education minister, Demetrios Nicolaides, said the two universities have the leadership and expertise needed to carry these projects.

"From potential short-term solutions and assistance, to gaining greater understanding of the longer term impacts of COVID-19, Alberta is taking a leading role and further establishing our province as a global leader in health research," he said.

Alberta Innovates is an arms-length government agency that reports to Schweitzer. It works with researchers and innovators to grow and diversify Alberta's economy.