Immunity Passports can be Blockchain’s Breakthrough Application
Covid-19 immunity passports have been lauded as a potential way to overcome the future influence and spread of the virus. In theory, immunity passports could aid take the strain off frequently stretched healthcare systems and help reinvigorate shrinking economies. Nevertheless, as the UK’s effort to complete its track and trace program proved, there is a real fear that technologically allowed replies to Covid-19 could impact data privacy. Notwithstanding this, according to TrueProfile.io, the provider of PSV (primary source verification) services, blockchain provides some hope for easing these privacy fears, establishing the stage for the technology to break through into the mainstream finally.
Immunity passports aim to link an individual’s identity with their Covid-19 test status, starting up a way out of lockdown restrictions for those determined to be immune to the disease. This indicates that any immunity passport would develop on antibody tests — which are designed to confirm whether someone has recovered from the infection and then offer certification that a person is immune and cannot catch the virus again.
COVID-related immunity passports are possible to accommodate sensitive and personal health data. This has implications for data privacy, with many concerns about how the data will be stored and who will have access to the data. This is where blockchain — the decentralizing technology typically connected with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies — can be utilized to assure data governance and that user privacy will not be compromised.
Work with caution
Notwithstanding the privacy guarantees that a blockchain-enabled immunity passport can afford, a strong dose of caution must be kept in mind before developers get ahead of themselves.The WHO (World Health Organisation) has consistently warned about a lack of scientific evidence for Covid-19 immunity, stating those who incorrectly believe themselves to be immune could get reinfected or transmit the disease further. This has the potential to hinder the concept of digital immunity passports entirely.
Indeed, yesterday it was declared that Covid-19 immunity could be lost within months after contracting the virus. This would provide immunity passports, concerning the current pandemic, obsolete and potentially dangerous. However, this latest healthcare warning has not been verified.
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