• Madani Sahari

Connectivity and health science converge to fight pandemic

This article was taken from . Original link for the article here:

It is perhaps awkward to discuss the progress of the automotive industry - a sector based on movement – when the world is facing its biggest challenge of restricted mobility.

With countries like the United States, India, Brazil and Russia surpassing the million confirmed cases mark, many nations of the world have become islands – placing many restrictions on international travel which affect our ability to do business conventionally across borders.

In order to reduce the impacts of COVID-19 transmission through imported cases, Malaysia has placed a hiatus of entry on the citizens of countries with more than 150,000 cases. While it was not an easy decision to make - after all, many on this list are the country's major training partners - it exemplifies the urgency for solutions to keep mobility continuous.

MARii has been developing various turnkey solutions in this regard, utilising technology development experience within our own organisation as well as our expanded network that comprise government, academia and the industry.

As mentioned in previous articles in this column, this included laser cutting technology to produce much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare frontliners, the development of the MOST-Plus (an all in one IoT and BDA based, scanning and sanitation device developed with MARA University of Technology, UiTM), as well as the COVID-19 Intelligent Management System (CIMS) which allowed for cloud based declaration of compliance for businesses operating during the on-going restricted movement control order, which will be in place until the end of the year.

Even though mobility has been restricted, the Malaysian government has demonstrated appropriate flexibility in balancing health risks with economic continuation.

With this in mind, the remaining restrictions that are still in place require novel solutions in order for resumption of the lifestyle and economic processes we have been accustomed to, such as air travel or even sending our children to school without worry.

I believe that the solution lies in two general areas of technology: data driven mobility monitoring, and expedited health screening.

While the use of contact tracing applications has seen widespread use in Malaysia due to its ease of use, the integration between different apps of choice and discipline of its usage could see some improvement for authorities to quickly identify and restrict new transmission clusters from expanding.

Contact tracing may be the most popular application in the world of new norms, but we can not deny the power of the technology community in developing unthinkable solutions in assisting mankind through this pandemic. MARii is continuously working with its expanding pool of coders and content creators to develop new platforms that can energise the digitalisation process of people and businesses.

In May, MARii and Sengenics Sdn Bhd signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the development and commercialisation of products, services and technology related to health management systems, as well as high-throughput diagnostics for communicable diseases in industrial and commercial settings.

An important highlight of the MoU signing is to support development of ImmuSAFE, the world's first ever qualitative and quantitative multi-epitope, multi-protein COVID-19 Antigen Test for detecting and quantifying whether an individual has protective levels of antibodies to SARS-CoV2.

The test kit enables the determination of antibodies produced across all stages of COVID-19 infection, from initial exposure, disease development, post-recovery or post-vaccination. These results will provide critical insights on whether individuals have high levels of potentially neutralising antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 that may protect against reinfection or whether booster vaccinations are required.

The test kit is currently undergoing final stages of development with the help of the Institute of Medical Research and the health ministry.

The main intention of the development team is the expediency and accuracy of the test results obtains, reducing them from days to mere hours - making it very useful for situations mentioned above. Imagine the new possibilities that arise from a coronavirus test performed a few hours before a scheduled flight, or the morning before a student sits for an exam in a hall filled with other students.

The peace of mind in re-conducting our daily lives through technology applications would allow for a smoother reinstatement of the freedoms we used to enjoy, despite the challenges in the new norms of the post-COVID-19 era.

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