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Organizations Tracking COVID-19 Using Blockchain


Organizations Tracking COVID-19 Using Blockchain

Vishal Chawla
blockchain-covid-19

In this article, we take a look at some of the prominent blockchain projects which are focused on tracking COVID-19.

We know that limited data is coming directly from individuals in the healthcare community regarding COVID-19. Yet, there are organizations which are continually tracking how COVID-19 is affecting people in real-time. These firms are keeping the public informed about the latest information and studies on the pandemic to create more awareness about the disease and its spread. 

While the most popular way of sharing information on COVID-19 is via API and databases, blockchain is yet another technology to supplement API data and ensure there is transparency. Blockchain makes data on a platform tamper-proof and traceable. So, in the event of an epidemic, it can help gather precise acquisition of data, and dismiss false information by verifying a complete data audit trail. Thus, it helps citizens and authorities manage an outbreak in an efficient manner.

In this article, we take a look at some of the prominent blockchain projects which are focused on tracking COVID-19.

MiPasa

MiPasa is a blockchain consortium formed recently when technology companies like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and Hacera collaborated with health organizations including WHO, Hong Kong Department of Health, Government of Canada, USA CDC, and John Hopkins University.

These organizations came together to form a blockchain network called MiPasa to share data concerning the coronavirus pandemic. MiPasa is written on top of Linux Hyperledger Fabric, and attempts to facilitate quick detection of COVID-19 transmitters and epidemic hotspots.

MiPasa is intended to secure and integrate data sources, label their differences, improve and recognize errors or misreporting, and smoothly combine reliable new feeds. According to MiPasa, the tool can assist technologists, data scientists and government health officials by providing them with the data they require at scale to answer and devise solutions that can help overcome the outbreak of COVID-19.

MiPasa is maintained by a group of health experts across different disciplines, software and app developers, and privacy specialists who are all acting together to obtain secure and quality data, and make it readily available to relevant entities. The onboarding is arranged through the Unbounded Network, which is operating a production variant of The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric on different cloud platforms. IBM has been amongst the initial benefactors of the Unbounded Network, which is encouraging more partners to cooperate openly through open and private blockchains since 2018.

Acoer

In February, Acoer rolled out its coronavirus tracker called HashLog data visualization engine. The tool communicates in real-time with Hedera Hashgraph public blockchain. Similar to other coronavirus dashboards, it helps people know about the spread of the pandemic and other insights from the data.

According to the CEO of Acoer, Jim Nasr, blockchain can be a source of truth and a reference to the accountability of data. For Jim, blockchain is supplementary to existing APIs used to source data. The blockchain takes in all the data from all sorts of sources via APIs. The Hedera blockchain, on which the solution is built, can then verify whether or not the data has tampered at any stage. The real-time audit trail of the COVID-19 data can be verified on the public blockchain Hedera DLT. Hedera was chosen because of the high throughput of the network compared to other existing blockchains.

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Telos

Blockchain company Telos Foundation collaborated with GenoBank to create a side chain on the Telos public blockchain for storing COVID-19 test data. The GenoBank products contain QR codes, which can be scanned after the patient has been tested. Once the code has been scanned, and the test has been transferred to the lab, results will be loaded to the Telos blockchain automatically in a way that preserves the privacy of the user. The anonymous test information can be gathered on a patient and immediately pushed to the blockchain network, which is secured cryptographically using Proof of Stake consensus between the nodes. 

An Agerona mobile application user can obtain a specialist for the test kits in their nation, and additionally, purchase individually from the app to improve the anonymity of the user. When a user gets the test, they can scan the test’s unique barcode and link it with an easily accessible and anonymous account on the Telos side chain that only the user manages. The test kit may next be anonymously mailed to a supporting testing lab.

The acceptance and processing of the tests can be traced on Telos for transparency and accountability of data. The results are recorded on the blockchain, but with no link to any particular user. Researchers will be capable of analyzing aggregate data from the blockchain along with minimum geographic knowledge if produced to track the development and outbreak of the disease accurately.

Algorand

Algorand also announced a survey designed to collect an open database on the extent, status, and symptoms of the COVID-19 pandemic across various geographies. On March 27, Algorand said that its ‘IReportCovid’ survey app would offer a global data repository that updates in real-time to notify about pandemic mitigation endeavours.

The survey’s results will be recorded on the blockchain attempts to address the lack of real-time data about the pandemic coming from individuals in the community. Survey responses are publicly pushed to the Algorand blockchain to provide permanent open access to the data. Algorand will publish aggregate statistics and provide tools for analyzing the database as data is collected from the questionnaire, which can support and inform the people and examine the pandemic. 

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