A consortium of companies developing a breakthrough phone app that can store and share coronavirus test information is making progress with the prototype.
The Cov-ID is being fast-tracked to the market by Z/Yen Group using technology developed by AIM-listed Catenae Innovation PLC (LON:CTEA).
The latter’s shares were up 30% on Monday after it emerged the UK is preparing to buy 50mln antibody tests that will allow millions of people to return safely to work.
The Cov-ID would allow you to upload your personal results, with details such as face identification, to your device.
Exit strategy within days?
Yesterday Boris Johnson, back at work after his near-death brush with the coronavirus, hinted that an 'exit strategy' from lockdown could be fleshed out within days.
Borrowing from Churchill's famous World War Two speech, he spoke about the 'end of the beginning' by saying there are 'real signs' the UK is making 'progress'.
And, in a bid to quell alarm within the ranks of the Tory party worried about the economic impact caused by isolation tactics, he said once the disease was under control, measures would be 'refined'.
Advances such as the smartphone-based solution from the Z/Yen and Catenae consortium could be crucial to this progressive lifting of lockdown.
New app 'mitigates risk' post-lockdown
GDPR-compliant, the software would allow users to share health details with whomever they wish, including employers and health officials.
“Any person who elects to share their information can use our technology to put their status in our secure application,” said Guy Meyer, interim chief executive officer at Catenae.
“Our solution mitigates risk to business continuity and builds resilience for organisations.”
Without being drawn on when we might see the new application, Meyer shared how the Digital Passport works using a distributed ledger (blockchain) technology.
Catenae's products sit on top of ChainZy, a platform that can handle 23bn internet transactions in 24 hours and has been tested by the National Physics Laboratory.
“What differentiates us is we are globally scalable and our blockchain is relatively inexpensive; it is tried and tested and used in the marketplace,” said Meyer. “Our tech is deployed in estate management.”
Social and sporting events
As lockdown restrictions are eased, the new identification system could also be used to screen admittance to pubs, cinemas, and large sporting events.
Civil libertarians can rest easy with Meyer stating: “This is not about Big Brother keeping track of us. This fits right in with valid civil liberty concerns, I would say.
“Our system leaves the user in charge of their details. So, if I want to delete my profile I can, and all my data is removed.”
According to weekend reports, a breakthrough by British researchers means that by June we could have a reliable test that tells us whether we have developed immunity to coronavirus.
Expected to cost £10, the kit has been devised by a team at Oxford working for the Government-backed Rapid Testing Consortium.
Users of the test provide a pinprick blood sample for analysis.
Like a pregnancy test
Like a pregnancy test, if two lines appear after a 20-minute wait, people know that they have the antibodies; one line means they are vulnerable to infection or the test has failed.
Under plans being drawn up, the user would take a picture of the positive result and send it to a central unit that would enter their details into a database.
The consortium believes it could product up to 1mln of these so-called lateral flow tests a week, with 50mln available in a year.