VirusBlockchainThe Public Health Blockchain Consortium (PHBConsortium.org) has announced the release of a monitoring blockchain (VirusBlockChain) for the systematic, continued and anonymous verification of communities and workplaces. The objective is to identify communities free from COVID-19 – and other high-risk viruses, bacteria and fungi, in order to assist them stay free of potentially life-threatening diseases.

Ayon Hazra, CEO of Qlikchain
Ayon Hazra, CEO of Qlikchain

Unlike traditional infectious disease surveillance that focuses on infected persons, this is a system that monitors the movement of uninfected persons instead, with a view to restricting their return if they have passed through areas known to be infected,” says Ayon Hazra, CEO of Qlikchain, the administrator for the PHBC.

PHBC’s virus-free monitoring blockchain can automatically identify zones with and without validated incident reports by integrating real-time information from virus surveillance providers with artificial intelligence (AI) and geographical information systems (GIS). Those areas without validated reports of contamination are elevated to safe zone status. Communities and workplaces can maintain such safe zone status if they restrict access to anonymously identified persons and only allow movement to and from other safe zones. This method enables communities and workplaces to effectively protect uninfected persons.

How it should work

The blockchain will store a workplace’s or community’s protection certificate – obtained from security organisations or government bodies. These will ensure all persons entering a safe zone will have continuous monitoring.

Equally, those who have previously entered an infected area will need to remain in a quarantine zone before they can enter the designated safe zone. Communities can also provide isolated places of residence for incoming visitors. Monitoring of those visitors can occur, anonymously, for a specified period. If the visitors do not develop any symptoms, they later join the general community. For example, secure residential resorts may require new residents to spend time in such ‘guest accommodation’ before they may access resort facilities available to long-term residents.

The PHBC blockchain

The Public Health Blockchain Consortium (PHBC) represents health authorities, universities, health care providers and innovators. Their collective aim is striving to collect, safely store and analyse anonymous health data. Held on a blockchain, the intention is to:

  • assist the eradication of diseases
  • improve the lives of the world’s people.

PHBC first introduced its virus-free monitoring blockchain to public health officials in Geneva in February, 2020. After a year, and after an Executive Board Meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), PHBC will present the results at the equivalent PHBC conference in early 2021.

As part of the assessing progress, PHBC is inviting senior housing representatives and healthcare providers – as well as community, business and government representatives – to join PHBC’s workgroup for the monitoring and protection of high priority zones. (PHBC defines the latter as those which must a maintain virus-free state for security or economic reasons.)

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

On the face of it any common resource which can fight COVID-19, or other infections and diseases, sounds welcome. This is especially so as the enterprise world finds itself afflicted and diminished by closing borders, loss of travel and ill employees, customers and suppliers.

Despite this, Enterprise Times has concerns. For one there is almost no detailed information on the various websites. Except for the following “HealthiestLuxury, in collaboration with VirusBlockchain.com, has developed a ‘Safe Zone’ certification programme for hotels and resorts wishing to assure guests maximum protection from coronavirus COVID-19“. This sounds innocent enough. But is Enterprise Times being too pessimistic in asking: could VirusBlockchain be a thin edge of a (blockchain-enabled) control wedge, whether operated by businesses or governments?

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Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.

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