Five Ways Tech is Being Used to Fight COVID-19
By Anna Johansson
 

While the fight against COVID-19 continues, people and businesses are finding ways to help fight the virus. While the White House announced it’s making supercomputing resources available to researchers worldwide, businesses and individuals are also coming up with ways to use technology to fight COVID-19.

1. Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched a new, global initiative

AWS just launched the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative, committing $20 million for Amazon customers working on diagnostics solutions for COVID-19. Funding will be provided as AWS in-kind credits and technical support to help research teams use cloud technology to tackle this monumental challenge.

This initiative is designed to promote collaboration between Amazon customers who are working hard on solutions and organizations with similar goals.

Amazon customers who are new to AWS cloud services will be pleasantly surprised at how much easier their workflow will be in the cloud. The best part is that cloud technology is efficient and easily secured to meet all data privacy compliance standards. Amazon customers working to fight COVID-19 with cloud technology are in good hands with AWS.

2. People are using 3D printers to make needed products

Ever since 3D printers became mainstream for hobbyists, people have been making all kinds of useful items. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, 3D printers are proving exceptionally useful.

A Canadian boy scout named Quinn Callander heard that medical professionals at a local hospital were looking for ways to relieve ear pain from wearing masks all day. He decided to create an ear guard that sits behind the head and holds the elastic pieces that would normally go around a person’s ears.

The ear guard is a simple, flat piece of plastic with four notches on either side so doctors and nurses can adjust the tightness of their mask and bypass their ears.

3D printed PPE

3D printing companies are also stepping in to make PPE for doctors and nurses on the front lines. So far, 3D printer manufacturers Carbon, Prusa Research, and Formlabs 3D Systems are producing face shields at a rapid pace. Around 7,500 masks have already been produced and a significant increase in production is expected. A spokesperson for Carbon told WKTV the company can produce 50,000 shields per week if necessary.

High school students are also making face shields  and even masks with 3D printers to help out as much as possible.

While 3D printed face shields are technically not FDA-approved, they’re not advising against using these homemade face shields and masks. They are, however, informing people that 3D printed face shields don’t provide the same level of fluid barrier or air filtration protection that FDA-approved PPE provides.

3. Manufacturing companies are stepping up to produce supplies

Most people know that large corporations like 3M, Ford, and GE are working hard to build respirators, ventilators, and other PPE for doctors and nurses. What you don’t see in the news are the names of smaller companies making PPE.

There are many smaller companies producing medical PPE right now, including two Italian companies – Salewa and La Sportiva. Other companies making surgical masks, gowns, and even N95 respirators include Seattle’s Outdoor Research, Eddie Bauer, Mystery Ranch, DaleBoot, Wild Rye, and Arcade Belts. All of these companies deserve some serious credit for their tireless efforts during this tough time.

4. Google is using DeepMind to help fight COVID-19

Google is using technology to fight COVID-19 in two major ways. First, the company is working with the United States government to develop an educational website to host resources on COVID-19. The idea is to create a central location where people can find all the correct information without having to sift through misinformation.

As part of Google’s fight against COVID-19, the company has contributed its DeepMind program to its AlphaFold system. Both systems are part of Google’s artificial intelligence solutions, but adding DeepMind aims to predict the protein structures related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 in order to create effective treatments.

An Alphabet-owned company called Verily is in the process of developing a patch for COVID-19 patients to wear that detects a fever and communicates with a phone app to catch an early diagnosis of COVID-19 or the flu.

5. HPE Aruba created a medical ferry

Aruba, an HPE company, installed a network on a ferry that turned it into a medical ship to help people affected by COVID-19 in the Liguria region. Aruba is continuing to provide pop-up COVID-19 clinics and temporary hospitals across the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

It’s a group effort to fight COVID-19

It’s great to see technology being used to help fight this pandemic. The fight against COVID-19 really is a group effort and every contribution helps.

Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, TheNextWeb.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.