Blockchain-based app for Covid-19 undergoes pilot testing in PH

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A mobile application to check and track a person’s medical status, particularly Covid-19-related information, is currently undergoing pilot-testing in the Philippines.

The AOKPass app was developed by Singapore-based startups AOKPass and Perlin. The app is touted to be very secure because it uses blockchain technology as away to secure information.

The application is being supported by the International Chamber of Commerce, International SOS, and multinational pharmaceutical giant Sanofi.

The app is currently being tested on health workers at the St. Luke’s Medical Center. Initially, information on influenza is being used for the testing period. The testing started in October 5, and results will be soon published, Sanofi said.

Dr. Jean-Antoine Zinsou, Sanofi Philippines country manager, added that government hospitals and the Department of Health are also set to join the pilot-testing.

Zinsou said the lack of information and deeper understanding of Covid-19 has become necessary, particularly in the Philippines, where Covid-19 positive cases continue to rise.

Zinsou said the AOKPass will also hopefully help combat “misinformation and disinformation” which have become rampant in the country. “It is necessary to provide evidence-based information,” Zinsou said.

Dr. Chester Lee Drum, AOKpass co-founder, said with about 300 companies poised to release Covid-19 vaccines, there is the need for the right information.

He said everyone will not get the vaccine, particularly in the beginning, and that “bad elements” may see this as an opportunity. This is the reason why the right medical information should be available and secure, he said.

He said one of the possible frauds is fake vaccines, which has happened in the past particularly Yellow Fever and anti-rabies vaccines.

Drum explained that the AOKPass provides “end-to-end authentication” and since it uses blockchain “cannot be falsified.” “This will prevent distrust, criminality and ultimately prevent harm,” Drum said.

According to AOKPass, medical information is saved in the person’s AOKPass account through his or her mobile phone. The data is secured, as it resides only in the person’s account.

According to developers, AOKPass provides individuals “with a digitally authenticated, secure and portable copy” of medical records, approved by a medical professionals and accessible only to that person.

AOKpass is built to be decentralized, meaning the medical records are stored only on a user’s device and will not be shared or stored elsewhere.

When someone verifies the pass, the AOKPass technology “validates the digital signature of the individual’s pass to ensure authenticity.” The individual’s pass is then verified without the need of showing any personal or medical information.

Annanya Shetty, a member of the AOKPass team, said the process starts with a person’s consent form before the actual vaccination. The data is then e-mailed to the clinic or medical center to attest the process. The info then goes to the blockchain and thus can’t be counterfeited.

The researcher said the “AOKpass is like a digital wallet, where information is stored.”

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