A newly published research paper from Oxford University highlights how a smartphone app could help contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The app in question would automatically trace close contacts of Coronavirus carriers and advise them to self-isolate at a moment’s notice.
Contact tracing is essential when attempting to contain an outbreak. But what happens if a virus spreads so quickly that it can’t be contained via traditional tracing methods? Here, digital contract tracing – such as the proposed app – has a significant role to play in identifying potential cases faster, more efficiently and at scale.
The findings will be of particular interest to NHSX – the digital transformation arm of the NHS – as it assesses the feasibility of mobile apps for instant contact tracing. If rapidly and widely developed, these mobile apps could significantly slow the rate of transmission, and support countries as social restrictions are gradually eased.