We might be on the winning side in this battle thanks to the frontline services and the COVID-19 tech assisting them.
Modern problems require modern solutions. This phrase has become more relevant than ever in the fight against COVID-19. Due to the level of digital integration, we have at home, and in our lives, medical facilities like consultancy and delivery have become more accessible.
On the other hand, state-of-the-art calibre sterilization solutions and hawkeye-grade tracking are helping the world not only fight but also contain and track the virus. Here are some of the leading efforts we’re seeing making headlines.
AI might find the cure faster than we do
Artificial Intelligence is slowly taking over every tech indulgence, be it music, gaming, computing, and now even medicine. There’s no denying that AI has a better track record in medical studies than humans. And it might just beat us in the race of finding COVID-19 cure.
Oxford-based Exscientia, the first to put an AI-discovered drug into the human trial, is trawling through 15,000 drugs held by the Scripps research institute in California. And Healx, a Cambridge company set up by Viagra co-inventor Dr David Brown has re-purposed its AI system to find drugs for rare diseases. They stated that the algorithm has been working since Easter and are expecting much more clarity by the end of May.
Location tracking and smartphone apps
What’s harder than fighting an invisible virus? Tracking it. We’ve seen dozens of governments put down their chips on digital solutions to track the spread of the COVID-19. It started with China, then Taiwan, South Korea, Israel, and European countries like Germany and Italy. Either their government has issued autonomous apps, or they are using location data to track movement and potential hazards in crowds.
Moreover, these apps also serve as bulletins for news and updates on the virus and some even boast self-assessment features too. Smartphones are great to accurately keep track of citizens, and governments are prioritizing this solution.
Using Telemedicine and delivery bots
In a time of social distancing, it can be difficult for new patients to be treated immediately and receive a proper medical assessment. What do they do? They look to an online consultancy solution called ‘Telemedicine’. Essentially, this is about streamlining the diagnosis and treatment processes, making them faster and easier. All a patient needs to do is open an application, describe their symptoms, and wait for a doctor to get back to them via virtual consultation.
Countries like France, Spain, China, Taiwan have turned to this form of consultancy in times of severe demand. On the other hand, to keep services afloat yet keep up to codes of social distancing, robots are doing the job for us. Especially in hospital wards, restaurants, large-scale residential locations, and more. Of course, they can’t travel a long distance, but they can surely hand you your mail from the delivery box.
Futuristic sanitize methods for hospitals and streets
Here’s a homegrown solution we’re proud of. PerSapien, an innovative tech company, came up with two models. First, the Minus Corona UV Bot to help sanitize and sterilize hospital rooms and corridors, and second, the Airlens Minus Corona mobile disinfecting solution for streets, shopping malls, and markets.
The UV bot will be fighting in places most infected, hospital rooms, to take care of not only patients but also the hospital staff. It comprises a UV-C lamp mounted on a wheeled robotic platform, which is operated with remote control. Ultraviolet (UV) Sterilization Technology has been a certified ace in killing viruses and microorganisms of any kind.
The Airlens Minus Corona claims to fight corona with corona. The power lies in electrifying water droplets to kill coronavirus. Water droplets can be ionized using Corona Discharge. We must admit, PerSapien have brought forth some of the coolest COVID-19 tech solutions.
Drones and facial tracking
Among all the COVID-19 tech currently in action, this one might be a bit invasive. But in a time like this, where identifying a potentially infected person is as important as killing the virus, we can’t complain. In Wuhan and other critically infected cities, drones were transporting both medical equipment and patient samples, saving time and enhancing the speed of deliveries while preventing contamination of medical samples.
Moreover, in places of public transit, thermal imagery systems were in place, combined with facial recognition programmes. Club these two together, and you won’t just detect but identify a COVID-19 host as well. The Japanese and other South-East Asian countries are currently using drones for delivery and monitoring of public places.
All images: Courtesy Getty Images and PerSapien