How blockchain can contribute to research into a cure for Covid-19

Digitisation is receiving a further boost from the coronavirus pandemic. Using innovative technology, researchers are trying to find drugs to cure Covid-19. The blockchain technology is also being used.

The volunteer computing project Folding@home, developed by Stanford University, is currently researching a cure for the coronavirus – using the concentrated power of the computing power of numerous crypto-miners. The goal: The project simulates protein folding for various diseases in order to accelerate the development of new drugs. This includes Covid-19.

When the coronavirus broke out at the beginning of the year, Folding@home needed more computing power than ever. The blockchain community participated in the project and made their computers available. The project then had a computing power of 470 petaflops – more than the two most powerful supercomputers in the world. Without this computing power, the simulation of protein folding and thus the development of new drugs would take several centuries longer.

More Covid-19 testing capacity thanks to blockchain

Just a few weeks ago, the Rostock life science company Centogene and the Cologne start-up Ubirch also announced their intention to jointly develop a quickly available and safe solution to combat the consequences of the coronavirus.

The concept: Corona test results will be stored in the blockchain by Centogene and the Ubirch process. As a result, people will be given a Covid-19 status certificate that they can show in different situations: For example at school, at work or at the airport. This should enable people to return to normal life more quickly. In addition, the IT solution can provide more testing capacity and halve the price.

According to the company, the results of the corona tests in Centogene’s laboratory are available within four hours, which are then uploaded to the blockchain portal. The user then receives an e-mail with the test result.

Blockchain offers potential for the healthcare sector

In general, the blockchain has great opportunities to establish itself in the health care system. Several start-ups are using the technology, for example, to bring together medical data decentrally, store it and make it available to all those involved.

Blockchain could also help control the quality of medicines. It could make transparent and monitor the entire production chain, from the production of the medicines, through the transport route, to delivery to pharmacies or doctors’ practices.

This principle could, for example, reduce the loss rate of organ donations. If an organ is stored incorrectly, for example, this is clearly shown in the blockchain. Pharmaceutical companies could apply blockchain-based QR codes to drugs so that pharmacists and patients can check a product for authenticity.

These examples show that the integration of blockchain can also be of great benefit in the fight against coronavirus.