Tech solutions and Innovations that arose from the Pandemic
As the world gradually adjusts to a ‘new normal’ during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, researchers, businesses, factories, offices, employees, medical researchers etc., are exploiting a variety of high-tech corporate and personal solutions to keep the virus at bay and to reduce overall spread.
Below are some of the software and applications that are currently being employed across the globe.
Go Evo, a Covid-19 Employee Screening App
To begin with, in June 2020, Government Evolved’ unveiled ‘Go Evo’, a new COVID-19 Employee Screening Platform and secure app for Android, Windows (manual or MSI package installation), or iOS (Apple). The Personal Protective App (PPA) enables workers to self-assess their risk factors for the SARS-CoV-2 virus and determine whether to report to work or not.
Before reporting to their work place, employees fill out a Covid-19 self-assessment form within the app. Additionally, the app allows employee to check their temperature. Besides, real-time secure reporting tools and dashboards facilitate easy monitoring by employers to keep track of the health status of employees.
When an employee is at a high risk of transmitting the virus, the app instructs the person to notify their manager and stay at home. The manager receives an email notification highlighting the status of the worker (i.e., if they can report to work or when they need further screening for Covid-19). To ensure privacy and safety of data, system administrators access data and are bound by strict confidentiality agreements. Within the corporation, authenticated administrators with appropriated permissions’ view employee data. Other important features in the app include contactless screening app for visitors and the ‘Document Center’ where the entire organization receive updated Covid-19 related procedures, policies, and internal communication documents.
‘Get back to Work’ Apps
A myriad of other applications such as: ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tracker’, ‘Safe Worker App’, and ‘Check In’ have been created to enhance organizational safety measures during the pandemic
Two of these applications, the ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tracker’, and the ‘Safe Worker App’ are developed by Domo, a cloud-based software corporation in Utah, US. The ‘Safe Worker App’ offers employees an entire suite of services that for allow them to monitor their Covid-19 health status before going to work. It also helps intra-corporation communications where managers communicate directly with their employees.
The ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tracker’ is an online platform that provides updated and summarized data on Covid-19 by total confirmed cases, projections, location, testing and treatment and economic impact. The live-data is updated every 10 minutes to improve organizational decision making.
In April, 2021, Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) unveiled its new wearable contact tracing app, that is currently used by more than 60 companies ranging from production facilities, television shows and movies and airlines. ‘Check In’ tracks employees, frequency, time, and distance with their co-workers, and gives proximity score alerts when employees are at risk of exceeding social distancing limits. The proximity scores similarly help employees to establish when they should get tested.
The ‘Check In’ app was developed as a result of the overwhelming challenge of non-stop social contact tracking by HR official. Initially, it is estimated that it tool HR professionals more than 15 hours to make a single employee trace, a task that now takes 15 seconds using a more reliable ‘phone tree’ memory system. Additionally, PwC developed ‘TrAction’ a new lanyard contact tracing app for employees who work in warehouses or factories where they don’t carry phones.
More companies are setting up hi-tech personal protection measures for their employees and business to enhance overall compliance with Covid-19 safety measures. Companies such as Wigle Whiskey and Threadbare Cider, micro distilleries in the US installed a series of MERV 13 filters designed to work in HVAC systems. These filter systems eliminate air particles larger than 0.3 microns that potentially carry the Covid-19 virus. In addition to the MERV 13 filters, the iWave air purifier is installed as a second layer of filtration to control the circulation of the virus. These filtration systems are vital to keep business such as indoor dining, restaurants, distilleries and drinking establishments up and running in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘SIMON’, a new ally for flu vaccine research
Significant progress has similarly been made to create new health system hi-tech innovations.
Of significant concern among the scientific community has been the need for developing new, and more efficient flu vaccines. The currently used Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine is comparatively considered to be least effective with only 40-60% protection. Whereupon, researchers at the Oxford Vaccine Group in mid-2020 released, SIMON (Sequential Iterative Modeling OverNight), a machine learning software that predicts the efficacy of flu vaccines, offering significant prospects for vaccine research.
‘SIMON’ operates using more than 200 hi-tech algorithms that analyze complex data from multiple clinical datasets on vaccine trials. The task by-passes the prior manual and time-consuming process of pre-processing, merging, cleaning and standardizing data from different trials. SIMON’s machine learning quickly identifies subsets of immune cells across study populations that indicate higher likelihoods of responding positively to a variety of vaccines. Ultimately, SIMON is vital in making it possible for researchers to increase the specific cell types in individuals with poor responses to vaccine and improve the efficacy of vaccines. SIMON is presently used by leading vaccinology and immunology experts at the universities of Stanford and Oxford and is available for free downloads. By the end of 2021, SIMON had been downloaded 3000 times and can potentially reach more than 100,000 users.
SIMON is already supporting data-driven research for Covid-19 vaccine development at the University of Oxford to offer more targeted and effective vaccines.