The 2020 Covid pandemic has sped up the adoption of blockchain and other emerging technologies in health. In 2021 these technologies will provide solutions that help control the virus, end the global crisis and support society’s return to a more normalised life.
The global distribution of vaccines is underway. Blockchain technology can help inventory and supply them and contribute to the maintenance of cold chains. It can also help mitigate fraud that could lead to possible counterfeiting. The UK has announced it will use a blockchain to monitor the storage of the COVID-19 vaccine. The NHS will apply an IO solution built on top of the Hedera Hashgraph distributed ledger network to track the storage of its COVID-19 vaccine supplies.
Distribution companies are very likely to turn to technologies such as cryptographic anchors. Linking a unique digital identifier to a physical object could help ensure the authenticity of vaccines distributed around the world.
Different blockchain applications are being created to fight coronavirus and help our health systems. In Spain, the startup 1MillionBot has created a virtual assistant specialized in COVID vaccination. The assistant organizes in a personalized way the appointment (how, when and where), provides information, management and certifies the vaccination.
The MiPasa platform is another application, which is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO). It aims to reinforce the information we have on the evolution of the virus. Based on IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric blockchain, MiPasa updates verified figures and data, facilitating the early detection of COVID-19 carriers. According to their website:
“MiPasa can help monitor and anticipate local and global epidemiological trends and detect possible asymptomatic carriers by providing big data on infection routes and occurrences to powerful AI processors around the world.”
DIGITAL HEALTH CREDENTIALS
Blockchain-based COVID-19 passports could go live in Q1 2021. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) will launch blockchain-based passports that digitally store an individual’s health information. Your vaccination status and COVID-19 tests will be reflected in it. According to IATA, this health passport could reduce the current quarantine restrictions worldwide.
IATA’s Alan Murray Hayden, valued the use of blockchain technology noting that:
“it was one of the implementations of the technology that has an obvious positive effect:
“This is the beauty of the technology we are using; puts the passenger in complete control of their data. There is no central database and no one can hack into it. The passenger owns their data and shares it with the airline. It is very powerful and is probably one of the first examples of the application of blockchain technology for the benefit of people.”
These examples show that innovation applied in these difficult moments is a great ally. 2021 presents a great health challenge and for this, blockchains, and other new technologies, will be key. The Blockchain is already proving its vluae in distribution of vaccines and in health credentials. In how many other things will it be decisive? We will see throughout the year.