A Spanish research team of more than 100 people is developing an app that uses AI and blockchain to predict the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and to help manage lockdown measures.

The app, which has the support of the Institute of Biomedical Research of Salamanca and the Artificial Intelligent Research Institute, is currently at proof-of-concept phase.

It uses blockchain to store and verify digital identities and licenses for individuals to perform certain tasks, such as returning to work or going to the supermarket during the lockdown period. Each identity is in the form of a certificate recorded on the blockchain, and each person will hold the respective private key to their own identity.

Deep thought

The app also makes use of the Deep Intelligence AI platform to predict the future behaviour of the coronavirus. It synthesises information from news outlets and scientific journals along with healthcare data and shares its analysis with government officials and healthcare professionals. The app can provide specific instructions and alerts to individuals and companies on how to minimize the spread of the virus.

Team leaders Juan Manuel Corchado and Javier Prieto from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers explained in an interview:

“The technology will be able to support healthcare professionals and public health officials by providing them with information that can be used when making decisions. For example, if the data shows an increase in COVID-19 cases, officials can decide whether to shelter-in-place.”

The team hope the information recorded and collected will help shed light on pandemics in the future and aid in their suppression. They are currently exploring avenues for additional funding.

Digital identity on blockchain has already shown potential

Blockchain technology is being used by a number of companies in the fight against coronavirus.

PwC launched a personal identity tool earlier this week which allows COVID-19 test results to be stored on the blockchain and accessed in real time. Canadian startup Emerge is launching Civitas, software that uses blockchain to track and manage stay-at-home orders around by local authorities the world.