Coronavirus technologies are being developed by businesses, researchers and innovators around the world to help mitigate the impact of the current pandemic. From 3D printed ventilators to apps that collect data and track the spread of the coronavirus, technology projects are fast becoming essential tools in these uncertain times.
Applying Big Data to understand the evolution of pathogens
Understanding how the new virus, officially known SARS-CoV-2 behaves is essential for highlighting methods that can stop its spread. coronavirus technologies are being utilized at Nextstrain, an open sourced project that offers data, visualization, and sequencing enabling them to show the evolution of pathogens like coronavirus, and offer information that can aid epidemiologists in understanding how it evolves in different countries, and probable mutations that can alter its nature. By sharing the genetic sequencing of over 700 cases of the virus with the appropriate scientific community, the project has helped in corroborating that the virulence of the virus has not changed as the virus has spread.
Implementing machine learning to identify future therapies
When enough quality data is present, AI can prove to be a very powerful tool in coronavirus technologies for predicting future trends and even looking for possible treatments. AbCellera, a biotechnology company, is implementing a machine learning model to come up with therapies based on antibodies received from patients that have fully recovered from the disease. They have used AI technology and analyzed more than five million immune cells as they are trying to search for those that can produce antibodies that help patients recover. So far with the aid of AI, 500 antibodies have been identified as potential candidates for use in future therapies.
Using telemedicine to support public services
Communities around the world are using telemedicine as an alternative to avoid overcrowding hospitals with an unmanageable influx of patients. Telemedicine is being used as part of the coronavirus technologies in streamlining the diagnosis and treatment process, making it easier and faster. Patients simply need to open an application, input their symptoms, and await a doctor to get back to them through a viral consultation. The Xuhui public hospital in Shanghai China has completed successful consultation with patients all over the world.
A designated app to free up hotlines
The regional government in Madrid Spain has launched ‘Corona Madrid’ an initiative that is available on web and app. People who suspect they might be carrying the virus can go through a physical self-assessment based on their symptoms, and based on the results they will receive the appropriate advice and instruction about steps to take. This initiative is one of many coronavirus technologies aimed at reducing call congestion for the coronavirus hotline all while offering health authorities a concise snapshot of the pandemic.
3D printed ventilators
Ventilators have proven to be a necessary piece of equipment for treating the most severe cases of the coronavirus. But there is a shortage of supplies in the health system. To address this problem, several groups have set up network communication channels and platforms around the world, using technologies like Telegram where they are sharing information regarding open source designs for manufacturing ventilators with 3D printing. Anyone having a 3D printer can contribute by printing the necessary respirator component. The aim is to make them more accessible to health care services.
This project is showing fast results, in just a matter of few days, individuals from one of the groups in Spain managed to create an open source prototype for the respirator, which has already proven successful when testing on a pig in the Central University Hospital of Asturias.
A chatbot that can answer questions
The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the official WHO chatbot with the purpose of providing information about the coronavirus and offering answers to questions being frequently asked such as infection rates and measures to be taken to protect oneself and others.
Robotics in the MENA region finds good footing amid virus
As the need for contactless health and safety solutions becomes ever-more essential, robotics in the MENA region is taking off. The forward-thinking startups, students, and entrepreneurial minds have stepped up to meet the growing demand by addressing a complex situation with hands-on solutions.
In the UAE, entrepreneur Aswin Sarang, understands that the demand for robotics in the MENA region is on the rise, and has developed several robots each capable of performing a certain task which include delivering food and medicine, sanitization services, and checking for fever.
“The idea is to sterilize infected areas and surfaces, such as hospitals, endemic neighborhoods and isolation rooms, to prevent doctors, health workers and volunteers from being infected.” Said Aswin Sarang – Head of Robotics & AI at Reliable Robotics.
The company supports healthcare authorities, airports, malls, as well as the private sector.
Recently, Reuters reported on an Egyptian engineer Mahmoud el-Komy who put his healthcare robot to the test with positive results. The robot was made to deliver routine healthcare duties such as taking temperature and testing for COVID-19 all via remote control.
The robot also delivers health information to the patients.
“There has been a positive response from patients. They saw the robot and weren’t afraid. On the contrary, there is more trust in this because the robot is more precise than humans.”
The drive to develop robotics in the MENA region seems to be sparking passion among the youth as well. In Lebanon, two engineering students created a cleaner bot of their own to sterilize indoor spaces like hospital rooms and offices. The cleaner bot costs $700/$800 to produce and can be rented out for cleaning at a fee of $50/$70 per session, depending on the size of the job arabnews.com reported.
On demand sterilization service robotics in the MENA region and around the world may see a similar rise in demand post-pandemic. Performing routine tasks that limit human exposure can be safer and more efficient for consumers and businesses alike.
The multi-cloud adoption boom
As the rapid advancements in tech continue – fueled by the current pandemic – we find ourselves stretching our limits and breaking boundaries. An important area that has gained significant traction this year is cloud computing, and more specifically, multi-cloud adoption.
What is multi-cloud?
For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, a multi-cloud environment Is when an enterprise utilizes more than one cloud platform and delivers a specific function, application, or service. Multi-clouds can be made up of private, public, and edge clouds to achieve a datacenter’s end goals and objectives.
Multi-cloud adoption garnered a significant increase to 70 percent year-over-year in 2020, outpacing the previous year by a whopping 20 percent.
Current State of multi-cloud
The Continuous Intelligence Report The State of Modern applications, DevSecOps and the Impact of COVID-19 from Sumo Logic revealed that customers adopted 3 main vendors to meet their cloud needs; CloudTrail (60 percent), VPC Flow Logs (34 percent) and GuardDuty (22 percent) respectively.
The report is developed from data that is aggregated from more than 2100 Sumo Logic customers that run applications over several major cloud platforms as well as on-premises environments. The report highlighted the importance of securing cloud workloads via the adoption of both cloud-native security technologies and available cloud data sources.
Furthermore, the pandemic has highlighted how important remote work is – and that is where cloud-computing shines bright. The rise in multi-cloud adoption led enterprises to modern cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
It is noteworthy to mention that AWS regional centers in the EU and US were among the top targets for hackers, according to the Sumo Logic’s global intelligence.
What are the benefits of multi-cloud adoption?
- Flexibility: No single cloud can perform most business functions, or at least no single cloud can do everything well. Integrating multi-cloud can allocate the right cloud platform to the right business function
- Proximity: By hosting some workloads through regional cloud providers that operate closer to where the user is, the enterprise would be greatly enhancing a user’s experience
- Failover: As a failover solution, multi-cloud adoption can protect an enterprise from outages by providing readily available and highly scalable backup for data and workflows for systems
Why GovTech adoption during COVID-19 is a must
GovTech is a new term that refers to the modernization and/or digitization of government services for better accessibility and efficiency of public services. A mouth full, but this suggests a need for governments to do what the private sector has been doing from the start: embrace and incorporate industry 4.0 technology. However, to do so on a governmental level is complex.
The tech revolution occurring around the world, accelerated by the pandemic will not wait for governments to search their paper file cabinet for a solution. Citizens’ expectations of speed and efficiency are set higher by the private sector.
Too many authorities in developing nations, and many government-managed institutions in developed nations, are woefully behind on tech adoption within their systems.
According to the World Bank’s definition as stated in their brief, GovTech is essentially about putting people first.
“GovTech is a whole-of-government approach to public sector modernization that promotes simple, accessible, and efficient government”.
Governments who had already begun improving their digital infrastructure before the pandemic, had a better chance of curbing outbreaks after the initial wave with known exceptions. Namely the US and UK.
Examples of GovTech used well during the pandemic can be found more to the east, in Singapore and South Korea among others, where data-gathering and citizen compliance with safety measures worked well to begin with.
Still, in the United states we see examples of GovTech being implemented even before the pandemic.
In areas of infrastructure, 120 Water Audit was recently launched, a cloud-based water management software, that a government on any level and size can use to minimize water waste.
During the pandemic, we have seen companies like BlueDot develop early warning systems to predict outbreaks, allowing governments to react preemptively. These systems used data gathered from numerous data sets from news, medical records and airlines to detect certain trends using their algorithm.
In the future, we should expect better GovTech adoption in public health services. Governments must work with the private sector to secure the right systems and consolidate their systems for better data collection. Undoubtedly, this is a long-term process.
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