Categories
COVID-19

List of Companies and Technologies That Address COVID-19 Reopening Through Verification Solutions

Verification of virus testing results and vaccination status are forming a key part of reopening strategies across a variety of industries that are critical to the world economy, a theme this blog has touched on before. This is particularly the case for in-person events and other business situation that bring people together. In these cases it is important to be able to make the verification at Time Of Presentation (TOP). Below is a list of TOP solution plans.

Ticketmaster(NYSE:LYV): As recently reported by Billboard Magazine, Ticketmaster has been working on a framework for vaccination status and virus test result verification.

A key part of their planned solution involves technologies around smart phones and working with a community of partners. The framework combines the Ticketmaster digital ticket app with third party health information companies such as CLEAR Health Pass or IBM’s (NYSE:IBM) Digital Health pass as well as testing and vaccine distribution providers such as Labcorp (NYSE:LH) and CVS Minute Clinic (NYSE:CVS).

Rather than testing on-site, the Ticketmaster framework relies on verifying that test results presented are within a required time window, e.g. 24 to 72 hours, prior to the event.

Once a test is completed, the fan would instruct the lab to deliver the results to their health pass company. If the tests were negative, or the fan was vaccinated, the health pass company would verify this status to Ticketmaster, which would then issue the fan the credentials needed to access the event.

As reported by Billboard, Ticketmaster president Mark Yovich expects the demand for digital screening services — which will be needed for airline travel, employment verification and theme park entry — will attract a new wave of investors and entrepreneurs to fuel the growth of a new COVID-19 technology sector.

“We’re already seeing many third-party health care providers prepare to handle the vetting — whether that is getting a vaccine, taking a test, or other methods of review and approval – which could then be linked via a digital ticket so everyone entering the event is verified,” Yovich told Billboard. “Ticketmaster’s goal is to provide enough flexibility and options that venues and fans have multiple paths to return to events, and is working to create integrations to our API and leading digital ticketing technology as we will look to tap into the top solutions based on what’s green-lit by officials and desired by clients.”

Cathay Pacific(HKG:0293) and United Airlines(NASDAQ:UAL) have released a collaborative solution aimed at verifying virus test results across borders.

As reported by the Daily Mail, The CommonPass app works by having travellers upload a COVID-19 test in their departure country. The software will generate a QR code that border and airline officials can scan to see a positive or negative test result.

The system combines certified lab testing with onsite testing at airports, with a volunteer-based pilot program with dedicated testing facility currently operating out of Heathrow for flights between Heathrow, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Cruise Line Industry Association, whose members include Royal Caribbean(NYSE:RCL) and Carnival(NYSE:CCL), released the following statement on October 6, 2020, detailing the industries commitment to testing and verification solutions:

“CLIA ocean cruise line members worldwide have agreed to conduct 100% testing of passengers and crew on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 or more persons – with a negative test required for any embarkation. This is a travel industry first and an example of the cruise industry leading the way.

We see testing as an important initial step to a multi-layered approach that we believe validates the industry’s commitment to making health, safety, and the well-being of the passengers, the crew, and the communities we visit our top priority.”

ITOCO (OTC PINK:ITMC): The ITOCO solution combines public key cryptography with biometric reading technology and the ability to write data to and retrieve data from a blockchain that is installed on a mobile computing device, a virus testing machine that processes a biological sample to test for a specific virus to return a positive or negative result, while associating that sample and result with an identity provided by the application and writing the results to a blockchain, a blockchain with deployed smart contract logic that verifies that only approved virus testing machines can write new data to the blockchain and that stores identity information that is written to it by the application and associates immutable test results with those identities, and a controlling application that deploys the smart contract logic code to the blockchain, and adds public key addresses for verified virus test machines that allow them to write virus test data to the blockchain, in a complete system that provides immutable virus test verification.

While the system can work with on-site rapid testing it can also work equally well with a system that only requires in-lab tests to have been conducted some amount of time prior to the event. In this case, any such lab can be whitelisted as an authorized virus test taking machine (or machines) and thus be able to write results to the blockchain for immutable verification on site.

In its simplest implementation, the blockchain acts as a kind of transparent yet private health information pass provider, while any mobile application that is equipped to verify results directly from the blockchain can acts as a verifier. Ticketmaster for instance could integrate such functionality directly into their mobile application and framework.

Time of Presentation (TOP) solutions will form the basis for a growing community of effort to getting back to a new normal that resembles the previous normal. The above list represents some of the trailblazing initiatives to make that a reality as soon as possible.

Categories
COVID-19

Cruise Line Industry Publication Highlights Technology Coming To Address Covid-19 After Operations Resume

A major cruise line industry publication, CruiseHive, has recently detailed steps that are being considered for mitigating the risks of reopening operations post-lockdown from COVID-19 for cruise line companies.

Noticeably absent for now is mention of Rapid DNA Testing – the article highlights standard diagnostic testing such as for heart rate and body temperature that would be good precursors to DNA Testing.

The processes and solutions that are covered include:

Guest Screening

  • Screening consists of checks of heart rate, breathing rate, body temperature and blood oxygen as well as a chat questionnaire and ID check
  • Occurs on initial check-in as well as disembark/embark process at stops
  • Screening also occurs in common areas of the ship

Crew Screening

  • Screening is the same as for guests
  • Occurs before boarding
  • Also occurs at key points on ship and at scheduled times for follow-up

Trigger-Based Workflows

  • A screening result can automatically trigger next-step protocols such as quarantine procedures
  • Data input feeds back-end analytical tools that are used to review screening results

Guest-Crew Virtual Check-up

  • Remote medical professionals can conduct check-ups with guests and crew through encrypted 1-to-1 video and voice communications
  • Geofencing technologies create alerts if someone breaks quarantine by moving outside of their quarantine zone

As mentioned, the article does not cover how DNA Testing can be used to markedly enhance the overall approach and effectiveness. Look for our upcoming article about this very topic or sign-up for our Itoco newsletter to get it in your inbox.

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COVID-19

How To Register For A Trial of the ImmutableTest.com Administrative Application

ITOCO, through its partner DATANet, has now released the first version of a web- and mobile-based application for administering its patent-pending Immutable Virus Test Result Verification System. This application is the next key step in commercializing this patent-pending system.

Register

This post covers how to register an account at ImmutableTest.com and get it upgraded to a full trial account.

The first step is to Register an Account. This is a simple process. Fill out the form with your first and last name, email and password and hit the Sign Up button. After you receive confirmation that you have created your account you can now login using your credentials.

Welcome

After successfully registering or logging in you will start at the welcome page. You will now be able to navigate through the tabs on the left-hand side to see the tabs available. You should also notice that your details are now visible in the top left. You will also notice that the tabs you now have access to also have a message requesting you to upgrade to a free trial or as a paid customer. This next section deals with how to do that.

Upgrade

When you register an account you will receive a follow-up email to begin a discussion and learn more about your use case. Assuming you are from a use case that fits, for example you are from a company that is seeking to deploy this kind of solution for its customers and/or employers, then you will receive an upgrade to your account either as a free trial or as a paid customer.

Categories
COVID-19

5 Major Industries That Will Drive Demand for Rapid Virus Testing and Verification As A Result of COVID-19

Major industries are massively impacted by the delay in reopening, uncertainty when reopening will start and at what point things will return to 2019 levels. Adverse effects include losses of revenue, stock price, jobs and in some cases even the ability to continue as a going concern.

Every month and week counts for these industries and the companies within them. The search for solutions that will enable them to open more quickly and safely are critical to them addressing this challenge. These solutions include Corporate Virus Testing and Verification Systems such as those newly offered by Itoco.

With that in mind, here are 5 Major Industries that are in the hunt for these solutions:

1. Casinos

The Casino Industry estimated the impact of COVID back in March 2020 as a loss of $21.6B.

Casinos can address reopening and loss reduction through rapid virus testing and verification in a number of ways:

  • Building its own virus testing labs onsite or partnering with labs to do that
  • Building virus testing and result verification logistical processes that address their customer journeys
  • Using rapid virus testing technologies that reduce the time to result to minutes instead of hours or days
  • Using rapid virus testing technologies that don’t require a lab or combining lab with non-lab testing technologies in an overall system
  • Leverage at-home testing kit results as part of an overall virus testing and result verification strategy
  • Adopting testing and result verification administration systems
  • Using the mobile, biometric and blockchain immutable virus test result verification system offered by Itoco that can stitch all of these options and strategies together

2. Cruise Lines

The annual revenue of companies in the cruise line industry is estimated as at least $45B by Cruise Market Watch. Given that cruise line trips have been grounded for at least 6 months, and counting, the impact on revenue could be estimated as at least $22.5B. In the initial stages of the pandemic shares in the industry leaders took heavy hits as well.

Cruise lines can adopt rapid virus testing and verification solutions similarly to casinos above, with specific focus on the key points of testing and verification that take place throughout the cruise line customer journey, as described in our previous post on approaches cruise lines are taking to address COVID.

3. Airlines

The impact on airlines of the pandemic range from losses of between $153B and $270B by ICAO or losses of between $252B and $314B by IATA.

Airlines can address these challenges by adopting the strategies and approaches outlined above for Casinos, with specific focus on the unique stages and challenges of the airline passenger customer journey.

This can be handled directly by airlines themselves in partnership with technology systems providers such as Itoco or through a combined effort, coordinated on their own, through their associations or through existing technology service providers such as those for booking or passenger logistics systems.

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4. Live Music and Sports

Global revenue for Live Music in 2019 was $19.3B and as a result of COVID-19 it is estimated to be $7.7B for 2020, a loss of $11.6B.

The impact of COVID on Live Sporting Events was estimated in May as a further $12B loss. Both live music and sports can address this using rapid virus testing and result verification systems by considering strategies and approaches outlined in the Casinos section above with a particular focus on the unique logistical challenges of the handling such a large number of people entering and exiting a venue for an event at a fixed time.

In both cases, the time sensitivity of the test results are particularly acute. Adoption of virus testing technologies that can produce results in less than an hour are a requirement at different stages of the customer journey. Immutable virus test result verification is also a requirement. The virus test result must provably be for the person who is attending the event. The corporate virus testing and result verification system by Itoco addresses all of these requirements.

In both cases the industries can well leverage at-home and/or local lab testing to provide early warning systems pre-event as part of an overall system, particularly for live sports because they have regular ticket holders who attend and can be segmented by testing location off-site before the event.

In both cases logistics are key and planning and monitoring those systems using technology systems.

5. Tradeshows

The economic impact on Tradeshows is estimated to be $180B in lost economic output and 1.9M jobs lost.

Tradeshows can address reopening using the strategies, approaches and overall solution outlined in the Casinos section.

In particular the nature of tradeshow visitors, with many being corporate professionals, depending on the event type leads to interesting technology solutions for combining technology systems through integration to provide reliable virus testing and verification throughout longer customer journeys.

If you are working in these industries or others impacted by COVID and looking for solutions, contact us today to begin exploring Itoco’s service offerings and technologies that address this.

Categories
COVID-19 DNA Testing

How Rapid DNA Testing for COVID-19 Works

Intro challenges to rapid testing and why it’s needed (i.e. the benefit in rapid testing). DNA Testing can turn around test results on site in 10 minutes and at a scale that far exceeds traditional PCR tests. There is some confusion about what DNA Testing for viruses is and how it works. In this post we dive in to reveal just that.

Synthetic DNA

It starts with Synthetic DNA. What is Synthetic DNA? It is part of the field of Synthetic Biology, which combines chemical synthesis of DNA with growing knowledge of genomics to enable researchers to quickly manufacture catalogued DNA sequences and assemble them into new genomes. This synthetically reproduced DNA is Synthetic DNA.

The first step in Rapid DNA testing for COVID-19 then is to produce a synthetic SARS-CoV-2 genome.

At least two teams have already recently announced completion and availability of this and more are actively working on it. Codex DNA announced the availability of its synthetic genome on July 16 and researchers at University of Bern in Switzerland announced theirs back in May.

On-Site Test Sampling and Analysis

With the Rapid DNA Testing Kits, samples are taken on-site (e.g. as part of a Cruise Line embarking process, live-event, or casino or hotel check-in process, and/or as part of continued testing at any of these etc.). A sample can be different based on the type of virus being tested for. In the case of COVID-19 it is a swab.

Unlike traditional PCR (polymerase chain reaction)testing, Rapid DNA Testing has a number of advantages:

  • Can gather, process and deliver results on-site quickly and easily. Samples don’t need to be sent somewhere else for processing. Results are returned in 10 minutes or less.
  • Each machine can produce at a much greater scale and can run many tests concurrently in batch.
  • Cost is much less per test, at just a few dollars per test

How does the testing actually work? It compares the Synthetic DNA of the virus to the sample to see if there is a match. It is not analyzing the DNA of the person or recording that for any such purpose. It is only looking through the sample for the exact match of the virus DNA to see if it is present.

As discussed in our previous post on approaches and precautions that the Cruise Line Industry is taking to managing operations once they resume, the above Rapid DNA Testing advantages make it well-suited to industries such as Cruise Lines, Casinos, Hotels, Live Events and others.

How to Get Rapid DNA Testing Kits For Your Company

Through its partner Itoco is now offering Rapid DNA Testing Machines and Kits targeting partners in the states of Florida and New York. If you are looking to get this installed and working, please contact us now to begin a discussion.

Categories
Gene Therapy

Latest Gene Therapy News for July 7, 2020

We begin this new feature by looking at two new market research reports that cover some projected market size statistics for Gene Therapy. We then cover a response from the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine to the EU Pharmaceutical Roadmap and finally highlight some news for other public companies that are involved with Gene Therapy.

On July 3, Reportlinker.com announced the release of the report “United States Regenerative Market By Type, By Material, By Application, By Region, Forecast & Opportunities, 2025“.

The report covers different categories of the regenerative medicine market, including gene therapy products. It also segments based on different applications such as musculoskeletal disorders, wound care, oncology, ocular disorders, diabetes, dermatology and others.

In terms of time periods it covers 2015-2018 as historical years, 2019 is used as the base year, while 2020 is the estimated year and 2021-2025 is the forecast period.

On July 6, Fact.MR released its 170-page “Gene Therapy Market Size, Demand, Top Key Players and Regional Insights 2020 to 2026 Report“.

The report covers the Gene Therapy market specifically and covers the forecast period 2020 – 2026. It posit that the market is receiving tailwinds from advancements in synthetic biology.

Some key insights of the report, as highlighted by Latest Market Reports include:

  • Europe accounting for ~60% of total demand for gene therapy products.
  • North America as key future driver for gene therapy market growth.
  • Collaborations between clinical research organizations, research institutes, and biopharma companies as another key market growth driver.
  • Faster approval rates by European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are also leading to accelerated market growth
  • COVID-19 is increasing investment in gene therapy to explore ways it can be used to develop multiple therapeutic approaches for the virus and others that could occur in the future

In other news, today the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine responded to the EU Pharmaceutical Roadmap. As originally reported by Stock News Feed, the response recommends that the following priorities be included in the Pharmaceutical Strategy:

  • Limiting the Hospital Exemption, and other regulatory carve outs
  • Ensuring smooth implementation of the upcoming clinical trial regulation
  • Reconsidering the scope and implementation of the genetically modified organism (GMO) legislation of medicinal products, to reduce burdensome requirements for gene therapy trials
  • Launching new initiatives to build Real World Evidence (RWE) infrastructure and disease registries at the pan-European level
  • Coordinating ATMP clinical assessment at the EU leve, while adapting Health Technology Assessment (HTA), pricing and reimbursement processes to capture and value the long-term benefits of ATMPs
  • Facilitating cross-border treatment with ATMPs
  • Supporting the adoption of innovative pricing and payment models for ATMPs to ensure continue patient access to innovative therapies while preserving sustainability of health systems in the EU

The full response from ARM is available on the European Commission Website.

In company news, Mustang Bio (NASDAQ:MBIO), who focuses on translating medical breakthroughs in cell and gene therapies into potential cures for hematologic cancers, solid tumors and rare genetic diseases, was expected by Wall Street Analysts to report earnings of $0.28 per share. This was according to Zacks as reported by Caroline Horne for The Lincoln Online on July 5, 2020.

Finally, on July 2, Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRPT) announced an agreement with Hansa Biopharma to partner on the development and commercialization of gene therapies for various rare diseases.