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UK Becomes First to Use Digital Ledgers to Monitor COVID-19 Vaccines

by Anjanee Sharma on January 21, 2021 at 7:50 PM
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UK Becomes First to Use Digital Ledgers to Monitor COVID-19 Vaccines

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Blockchain technology (digital ledgers) is being used by two hospitals in the UK to monitor and track the supply and storage of COVID-19 vaccines. The Dallas based Hedera Hashgraph system is being used to track if the COVID-19 vaccines are being stored at the appropriate temperatures.

This technology is like a digital ledger maintained across a network and allows the secure and real-time recording of data. Many tech companies like IBM have proposed the use of this technology as it will be easier to share data on the vaccine across organizations at the same time making sure it is secure. Normally, different record-keeping systems like storing the data in a central location were used.

Vaccines from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures and will only last five days at fridge temperature. In contrast, Moderna Inc's vaccine is easier to deliver as it does not require cold storage.

Everyware, the company overseeing this project, has worked with the hospitals in the past to track the handling of other medical supplies that have specific storing instructions with the help of internet sensors. This helped the hospital prevent unnecessary wastage and discarding of medicines, says Tom Screen, the technical director of Everyware.

"We can absolutely verify the data that we've collected from every single device," he continues. "We make sure that data is accurate at source, and after that point, we can verify that it's never been changed, it's never been tampered with."

Cryptocurrencies also use a similar type of technology, but Hedera uses a mathematical system called Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG), which is different from the ones used in Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Since the simple monitoring of the vaccines does not require solving complex mathematical equations as in cryptocurrency, Hedera can quickly process transactions and offers a low cost for every piece of information added to the ledger. Comparatively, cryptocurrency-based blocked chains can hardly process one or two transactions per second and are also more expensive.

Screen also adds that while monitoring the vaccines is possible without blockchain, manually doing so will only increase the risk for mistakes and logistical hurdles.



Source: Medindia
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