UK hospitals use blockchain to track COVID-19 vaccines

Platform Industry: ongoing COVID-19 coverage, tracking and tracing

Two British hospitals have been using blockchain technology to keep tabs on the storage and supply of temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccines, the businesses behind the initiative said on Tuesday, in one of their earliest such initiatives on earth.

Two hospitals, in central England’s Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick, are expanding their usage of a distributed ledger, an offshoot of blockchain, from tracking vaccines and chemotherapy drugs to tracking fridges storing COVID-19 vaccines.

The technology will bolster record-keeping and data-sharing across supply chains,” stated Everyware, which tracks vaccines and other treatments for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), and Texas-based ledger Hedera, possessed by firms including Alphabet’s Google and IBM, in a statement.

Logistical hurdles are a substantial threat to the speedy distribution of COVID-19 vaccines but also have led to flourishing business for companies selling technology for tracking shipments from mill freezer to shots from the arm.

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s shot, as an instance, must be sent and stored at ultra-cold temperatures or on dry ice, and can only continue at regular fridge temperatures for up to five days.

Other vaccines, such as Moderna Inc’s, do not require such cold storage and are therefore easier to deliver.

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“We can absolutely verify the data that we’ve collected from every single device,” Everyware’s Tom Screen said in an interview.

Businesses from fund to commodities have spent millions of dollars to develop blockchain, an electronic ledger that allows the real-time and secure record of information, in the expectation of radical expenditure cuts and efficiency gains.

Results have been mixed, though, with few jobs achieving the radical impact heralded by proponents.

Everyware’s Screen said it would be possible to track the vaccines without even blockchain, manual systems could raise the danger of mistakes.

The system will “allow us to demonstrate our commitment to providing safe patient care,” said Steve Clarke, electro-bio medical technology supervisor at South Warwickshire NHS in a statement.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Tom Wilson. Editing by Hugh Lawson.

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