“The COVID-19 situation is not just a health emergency, but also one that affects the economy and society. With that in mind, Innovate UK has launched this rapid response competition today seeking smart ideas from innovators,” Dr Ian Campbell Executive Chair of the United Kingdom's innovation arm, Innovate UK. 

With the impact that the coronavirus has had not only on the global economy but on the very lives of millions of people, the UK has made it a mission of the tech industry to provide support. Not only are there government funds being supplied to help combat the spread of the virus but there have also been large efforts made in the private sector too. These are just some of the brands and bright minds that have stepped forth to help fight COVID-19.

Mercedes F1 Builds Breathing Aids

Engineers and doctors from University College London Hospital (UCLH), along with the help of the Mercedes Formula One team have created a device which is said to be an improvement on the current breathing devices used to treat coronavirus patients. The current continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices are used in hospitals all throughout Europe and the world, China and Italy especially. However, these are in short supply. The one proposed by the UCLH and Mercedes F1 team is different. The devices construct allows a steady delivery of oxygen to those struggling to breathe and can be utilised in normal circumstances, not exclusively for COVID-19 sufferers. It also has the advantage over traditional ventilators currently being used as it does not require patients to have an invasive procedure and sedation in an IC unit. The device has been approved by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and is set to be put forth immediately to those who need it.

 

Stay Up-To-Date with StopCOVID.co

Stopcovid.co is an initiative put forth with the combined efforts of Dan Teran, founder of the office management platform company, Managed by Q, and ESLWorks, a training services startup. Stopcovid.co sends text messages with the latest coronavirus updates to front-line workers in real-time. The impact of this is made even greater as it is meant to support front-line and essential workers who may not necessarily have the support of a large company but still require up-to-date information and health recommendations from the CDC & NHS concerning the virus. The notifications are sent through Whatsapp and SMS messaging allowing the less tech-savvy users easy access to the information, without having to install cumbersome apps. This potential tool can help spread critical information rapidly, allowing those who use it the time to prepare and help contain any pockets of potential outbreaks.

 

NHSx Funding New Tech

The Digital & Tech arm of the NHS, NHSx has recently voiced the need for innovators in the med-tech field to step up and help. NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould said: 

“Tech can play an important role in helping the country deal with the challenges created by a coronavirus."

NHSx has urged new businesses to come up with creative ways to remotely deliver health and social care to those in need. These ideas would then be funded according to their usefulness, practicality, and a whole other host of considerations. This is especially important for the elderly and those living alone during the current period of social isolation as their mobility may be severely restricted. Companies have been offered the chance to bid for a portion of the funding, of up to £25,000. One business that has stepped forward, Techforce19, proposed a solution "that can be scaled in a matter of weeks". The solution put forth would be a way to alleviate problems both mental and physical brought on by the quarantine, but done so in a digital way.

 

Covering Coronavirus via Mobile Apps

A team from the University of Oxford's Big Data Institute and Nuffield Department of Medicine has proposed an app to help fight the coronavirus outbreak and look to contain it. The app would record people's GPS location data as they go about their everyday lives. This would be enhanced by users scanning QR codes posted in various public areas throughout the country in places where a GPS signal is inadequate, as well as Bluetooth signals. Thus it covers both users with and without active mobile signals. For those who may even be displaying symptoms of COVID-19 there is also the option of using the app to request available home tests. Once the test has been sent out and results confirmed, there would be an instant broadcast sent to everyone who has been in close contact with the individual. This would allow others to either self-isolate or consider hospital admission in instances of extreme symptoms.

 

These are just a few of the manners by which innovative minds and brands throughout the whole of the UK are combining their efforts and determination to help all of us. It is through this continued strength of community and creativity in approaching the coronavirus pandemic that not only gets us through this but will lay the foundations of a system that will help us to better prepare for the future.