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Staying engaged, open-minded, technologically savvy, and embracing continuous learning, not only individually but as a core organizational imperative, are the hallmarks of 21 century leaders. Forbes
The IT industry together with Healthcare stays at the forefront of fighting against COVID-19. It is the first pandemic that can not be stopped without power and the role of technology. The news gives us hope that medicine will be able to cope with coronavirus with the help of digital tools and MedTech projects. Companies and R&D organizations contribute their resources to research programs and unite efforts to create advanced applications for sufficient monitoring, predicting and prevention of the spread of dangerous infection. Here are the brightest examples of how the IT industry deserves everybody’s support and attention.
Governments, the World Health Organization, National Health Centers and hospitals would not be able to inform the population and decide quickly on a quarantine regime without digital tools that collect crucial data and track the hottest areas of infections. The world’s largest companies and startups have successfully launched necessary development in cooperation with medical institutions to create platforms like the New York Times map of virus and other apps aimed at stopping COVID-19.
Apple released the COVID-19 application and website in partnership with the Center for Disease Control and FEMA. The solution is aimed at providing necessary and verified information and guidance to people. More than that, each user of iOS can ask Siri about coronavirus symptoms and receive a necessary response based on the CDC guide on how to minor the health state. Besides, the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook made a post on Twitter announcing that the company has sourced 20 million masks. Design, engineering, operations and packaging teams are also actively involved in producing and designing masks for medical workers.
Self-reporting app tracking COVID-19 is developed by Zoe startup in partnership with King’s College Hospital in London. Though the initial idea of researchers was to use the application for finding people with symptoms and allocate testing kits to them faster, the team met with uncertainties and fragmentary data sent to them. They decided to land with a greater idea and contribute to the development of application into the research of nature and shape of the virus to understand it better. The application does not inform on rules to stick to during quarantine, neither it serves as a map of the disease. It is used to track symptoms and receive better real-data to combat today’s crisis.
Representatives of Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google met to discuss the possibilities of data collection and application of AI against coronavirus. Data analytics and AI can be hardly useful in inventing drugs and vaccination against infection and rethinking the ways existing cures can be used in treatment of COVID-19 disease.
Earlier, Exscienta startup in Britain designed special algorithms that can create AI-based drugs which is a much faster way of inventing drugs than a traditional one. Expectations we lay on AI are realistic, although we have to understand that involving algorithms, Artificial Intelligence and data analytics to find the cure can take from 18 to 24 months.
The White House calls for action to the Tech Community that resulted in a video conference meeting in a remote regime of The US Government and companies during which they discussed how to use mobile data to stop the pandemic.
“We take this responsibility very seriously”: Google Cloud announced and shared how the team actively helps organizations, including the public sector and education. A great deal of attention is paid to state of remote work for people across the globe. It was reported how the team helps the Italian Ministry to enroll millions of students online and supports such organizations as Khan Academy with 18 million users before and the growing number of learners today because of the quarantine regime. Google also supports such a platform as Ruangguru with the necessary technology infrastructure.
In addition, Google, Microsoft and Palantir are building the COVID-19 platform for the UK’s health system. Also, Google has launched an informational platform about the virus and is committing $50 million to the global COVID-19 response.
More than 1, 400 3D-printer owners produce masks for the NHS needs. Amazing are stories of people who print 3D masks and distribute them for the pharmacies, hospitals and social care institutions. Connecticut doctor bought a 3D printer to satisfy both inclinations: to realize the dream of creating and building new things and make an impact with masks.
CoperPandemic is one more company that solves global challenges of lack of masks and its approach is very careful and wise. The matter is, the company prints 3D masks that are antibacterial because of copper used in production. More than that, the mask can be reusable and recyclable. The company offers collaboration to improve the design and support them in developing innovation.
Software companies maintain the necessary work of the EHR and EMR system to tackle the increasing number of data from testing patients and sharing it among hospitals. Interoperability remains important in Health Data Exchange and the pandemic has put the question of sharing e-records effectively, which is now the challenge for software development companies involved in MedTech development. To note, people can use e-visits, messages and report on their state via the application not transmitting the virus everywhere which is a great benefit of EMR systems.
The R&D role is today activated across the network of Universities and their research centers, initiating observations and researching for treatment against the disease. Across the world, the best universities provide robust support in researching and analyzing the virus’s nature. Scotland has launched a COVID-19 research program to start expertise in its universities. As a result, Glasgow University will conduct an investigation on the COVID-19 genome and the impact it has on the human body.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has transformed the spike of proteins onto music. With the help of AI, each protein’s structure formed a musical equivalent. Surprisingly, the recorded sound is relaxing and soothing. Scientists say that the volume, duration and rhythm tools help to see, understand and manipulate virus structures better, which is almost impossible to do with the help of a microscope. Such a step forward into learning the language of viruses is critical in finding drugs and antidotes.
Medtech companies are rolling out robots and drones to help fight the virus. The initiative firstly appeared in China to see how drones and robots can help humans in emergency situations. Human interaction should be all the ways minimized to reduce risks of getting infected, especially in densely populated areas. Some Chinese hospitals use robots to provide telemedicine services and better care to patients. Robots now can communicate, collect patients’ information and even help personnel treat them.
The next type of robots is launched with delivery purposes for the population. They are planned to achieve contactless delivery of necessary medical supplies and meals. One more function robots perform is disinfection of hospitals via emitting ultraviolet light in rooms. The robots are developed by the Danish company and work remotely that makes the process of disinfecting safe.
What about drones? Flying over the contaminated areas, they can be useful in different ways. Firstly, drones can inform people better than loudspeakers and broadcast to larger areas. Secondly, why not use robots in controlling people’s compliance to quarantine rules? Drones can identify those who’re walking without masks and assist authorities in crowd management. All in all, the practical application of drones and robots showcase how technology innovations are essential in combating the coronavirus.
In Lviv we have an example of how the community of software development companies puts efforts to ameliorate the situation and stop a threat to the city and each citizen. Lviv IT Cluster, that unites 100 companies into a circle of technology leaders, launches Large Scale Testing for Covid-19. The idea to purchase antibody express tests for Lviv and Lviv Region resulted in the United for Health Initiative. Such actions testify to the willingness of the IT sector to take social responsibility and stay side-by-side with people to stop the virus danger.
At last, we contemplate the historical times when the technology revolution proved to be a blessing for humanity that happened once and continues to be urgent and indispensable in such a tense situation. While software development companies, research centers drive advances in technology globally, the efforts of each of us to donate and help locally into the fight against COVID-19 is no less important.