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Tracking Apps Backed by Governments to Stop COVID-19

By MBN Staff | Mon, 05/04/2020 - 13:27

To face the challenges that COVID-19 has brought worldwide, governments and companies have invested great resources to reinforce or develop new technologies that help with diagnosis, treatment and also to locate possibly infected people to isolate those who could spread the disease.

In Mexico, scientists at the IPN's Center for Research and Advanced Studies (CINVESTAV) are developing a device to detect people infected with COVID-19 in a few minutes. This is a new serological test where a blood sample that travels through biosensors is enough to reveal the result in a fluorescence microscope. The test was developed by Mexican scientist José Luis García and his team.

Likewise, UNAM said last week that scientists belonging to various medical institutions in the country deciphered the genome of the genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the Mexican population. Among the most relevant findings was evidence that local transmission between people who traveled abroad and people residing in the same area in Mexico, possibly started in the second week of March.

In other parts of the world severely affected by COVID-19, such as France, contact monitoring through the 'StopCOVID' program will enter its testing phase on May 11. Minister of Digital Affairs Cedric O presented the app as a key element of France's strategy to prevent the virus from spreading as lockdown measures are eased.

In India, as some social-distancing measures in districts least affected by the virus are lifted, the government has ordered all public and private sector employees to use a government-backed contact tracking app. In April, the Asian country launched the Aarogya Setu app that alerts users who may have come in contact with people who later tested positive for COVID-19. According to the country's technology ministry, the app has been downloaded around 83 million times. In India, the smartphone user base is around 500 million.

According to the latest travel pattern data that Google collected from its users' phones, in April there was more disobedience towards lockdown orders compared to March. In Brazil, Japan and Singapore more people stayed at home as COVID-19 cases increased in their countries. However, people in the US and Australia attended parks and offices as the infection rate declined. 

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MBN Staff MBN Staff MBN staff