Since its inception, blockchain technology has been referred to as the most transformative technology especially in the financial services. Blockchain technology has evolved far beyond just the underlying technology used by cryptocurrencies. From supply chain to healthcare, the tech has seen massive utility across several sectors. Now it is turning out to be a useful tool in the global battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak has been haunting humanity for months now. The number of deceased is on the rise and the virus has infected millions till date. Amidst this crisis, blockchain has turned out to be useful from tracking drug supply chains and medical supplies, to managing and authenticating medical data. The possibilities are endless.
Low-cost tests for all
Most recently, the Telos blockchain network has joined hands with anonymous DNA storage and sharing platform Genobank.io, to develop an application that would help users gain access to low-cost testing for Covid-19. The app would be open sourced and users would have complete control of their medical data.
With a release set for April, the blockchain-based mobile application dubbed “Agerona” is set to be “a mobile app for users, a processing interface for laboratories, a privacy-ensuring blockchain architecture, and sourcing and logistics solutions for low-cost COVID-19 tests and processing,” according to the announcement.
The Agerona dapp will also have an experimental feature in which users can record a sound clip of their cough to submit to help with the development of an AI-based diagnostic tool. According to Genobank.io’s CEO Daniel Uribe:
“We are honored to join this amazing team led by Telos Foundation and aim to contribute by sharing our experience in the fields of genomics, privacy laws and decentralized DNA data wallets to achieve the best privacy-preserving platform and an anonymous COVID-19 Test kit using the Telos Network. People have the right to know if they have the coronavirus without violating their privacy.”
COVID-19 info on the blockchain
The World Health Organization (WHO) is also utilizing blockchain alongside tech giants IBM and Oracle to authenticate data related to the coronavirus. Dubbed MiPasa, the solution is deployed as a “COVID-19 information highway,” said Jonathan Levi, CEO of Hacera, the company that built the platform.
The solution is developed on Hyperledger Fabric and is expected to evolve as more and more data analytics tools are added, alongside testing data and other information to help with the precise detection of COVID-19 infection hotspots.
IBM is also bringing the Call for Code initiative to work on the platform to rapidly create tools that might be able to help stem the crisis. IBM Blockchain CTO Gari Singh said things like coronavirus testing data could be added to the platform in the future.
“We started off brainstorming ideas on how to collect, provide and use verified information about the virus, It’s not that we were trying to force blockchain into this solution, but we thought we need to replicate data, we need to have trusted sources, we need to make sure it can’t be tampered with.”
Other use cases
Blockchain is also being used to track the spread of the deadly virus by implementing distributed ledger technology (DLT) in a tool, known as the HashLog data visualization engine. The tool collects real-time data with Hedera Hashgraph’s DLT to allow researchers, scientists and journalists to further understand the spread of the coronavirus and its trends over time through visuals.
Blockchain technology is also being utilized to aid the victims by a company called Hyperchain, which utilizes blockchain to track medical supply donations sent to hospitals in central China. The platform uses blockchain to ensure that donations are traceable and immutable, providing donors with transparency to see exactly where their donations are going to fight against the coronavirus.