The COVID-19 crisis is now expanding as more countries around the world report more cases. This is especially true for India. The country has one of the largest populations in the world and has now reported more than 100,000 cases across its territory. Epidemiologists have expressed concerns about how difficult it is to tackle such a dangerous threat in such a populated country. However, the country is using technology to fight against the threat. In this article, we will identify the top five ways India is using technology to fight against the coronavirus.
- Genetic code & research
Chinese scientists began studying the genetic code of the SARS-CoV-2 virus immediately after it was first detected. This research was made public and scientists from across the world began studying the genetic code in research laboratories to find clues on how to develop an effective vaccine. This is true for India as well. Experts raised calls for research labs in India to identify the genetic component of the virus’ strain that was present in India as early as April. In the same month, India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) began work on the matter. “To begin with, we are getting isolates from Hyderabad, but we are writing to NIV (National Institute of Virology in Pune) and a few other places to get isolates from different places,” the director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) explained.
- Case tracking via smartphone
Countries around the world are using smartphones in their fight against Coronavirus. India has done the same. The Indian government released an official app in May of this year that helps evaluating the risk of infections. The app collects information such as age, address, travel history, and location data to help health officials to identify the likelihood of infections in a particular area. This technique is highly useful for contact-tracing as well, allowing health officials to quickly identify infected individuals, isolate them, and list those who are potentially infected. Overall, this has proved to be a remarkably useful tool in countries such as Singapore.
- Online working and learning tools
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted the way we live our daily lives. For example, the way we work and study has come to a grinding halt. As a result, companies and educational institutes in India are devising ways to maintain social distancing protocols and continue work and teaching. Online apps have come to the rescue in this area. Schools and universities are using VoIP technology to communicate with students and deliver online lectures. Similarly, employee monitoring apps are now gaining popularity across the country as a tool in ensuring that the economy suffers minimal damage.
The field of e-medicine has assumed greater importance because of the coronavirus crisis. This is because the likelihood of infection becomes higher in hospitals as more patients are treated. However, patients who wish to visit the hospital or other health facilities for a different reason may not be able to do so because of the fear of catching the deadly disease. As a result, e-medicine has stepped in to resolve this problem. Doctors are now using online tools to help their patients. This also frees up considerable time and space in hospitals for dealing with the coronavirus cases. In short, e-medicine has stepped up to the task.
- Data sets
Almost every government across the world is using data to identify, track, and isolate coronavirus cases to prevent or slow down the spread of the disease. This is not possible without a large amount of data. India has done the same. Some data is being collected via smartphone apps, while other data is related to health facilities, daily tests, the concentration of cases in a specific area, the total number of cases, and other similar information. This data is then collated to construct a comprehensive picture of what is happening. An example in this regard is the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre in the US that is doing something similar. At the moment, however, it is likely that all this data is only available to government officials in India and is not available for public use.
The COVID-19 crisis has shaken up the way we live our lives. Furthermore, in the short-term, it is pressing hard against our capacity to deal with the disease. However, technology is being utilized efficiently in helping governments around the world cope with the sheer magnitude of the challenge. This is true for India as well. The Indian government has developed smartphone apps for the purpose and has instituted research organizations to unravel the genetic mysteries of the virus. Similarly, the private sector has also stepped up to the challenge as schools and offices adopt VoIP technologies for distance learning and remote working. Doctors are beginning to use e-medicine tools as well. Finally, the government is also collating large data sets to build a detailed picture of what is happening to help in the fight against the disease.