cl-au logo
Story image

The tech on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19

02 Mar 2020

The coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, which was first reported from Wuhan in China on 31 December 2019, is continuing to spread across the globe with media coverage sparking panic among the populace of countries who are seeing cases emerge.

GlobalData has been watching the way that tech startups are working with government agencies, clinicians and academics to help contain the outbreak.

“China is becoming the largest testing ground to demonstrate how emerging technologies can be harnessed to improve epidemic management and minimise the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak,” says GlobalData disruptive tech analyst Venkata Naveen.

Insights from the Innovation Explorer database of GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Center reveal various crucial use cases of emerging technologies to fight the coronavirus.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to identify disease outbreaks as well as forecast their nature of spread. 

Canadian startup BlueDot used AI and machine learning to detect the coronavirus outbreak even before the Chinese authorities. 

Its AI algorithm analysed multiple sources such as news reports, social media platforms and government documents to predict the outbreak. 


Autonomous sterilisation robots are helping hospitals to contain the infections in quarantined wards by easily moving into a quarantined zone to sterilise virus without human intervention. 

Chinese medical robot developer TMiRob deployed 10 disinfection robots across major hospitals in Wuhan to contain the spread of Covid-19. 

Claims processing

Blockchain-powered services are helping hospitals to reduce the time spent on administrative work and allocate staff to the frontlines. 

China’s Xiang Hu Bao, owned by Ant Financial, is offering a blockchain platform to speed up the claims processing, reducing the need for face-to-face contact amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Aerial delivery

Drones are gaining popularity as the fastest and safest means to transport supplies during disease outbreaks. 

Singapore’s AI startup Antwork has launched the first ‘urban air transportation channel’ to deliver medical supplies between Xinchang County People’s Hospital and the county’s disease control centre.


Chatbots are becoming the real-time information providers of coronavirus outbreak.

Japan’s startup Bespoke has launched a chatbot ‘Bebot’ to offer latest and reliable updates to travellers on the coronavirus outbreak. 

Accessed through a mobile app, it can answer queries on coronavirus such as symptoms, preventative measures and treatment procedures.

On the other side, China’s tech leaders Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have also joined the fight against the outbreak. 

Baidu has open-sourced its RNA prediction algorithm LinearFold to help researchers accelerate the time taken to predict the virus’s RNA secondary structure from 55 minutes to 27 seconds.

Alibaba launched a new AI-based system to detect coronavirus infection via CT scans with an accuracy of up to 96% in less than 20 seconds. 

Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat released a feature to track individuals affected with the coronavirus using coloured QR codes.

“With coronavirus pushing China’s health system into turmoil, the country is deploying tech solutions like never before to overcome its worst crisis in years. The ongoing epidemic has once again reiterated how important emerging technologies are in predicting and combating the spread of infectious diseases,” Naveen adds. 

Story image
Microsoft launches program to help people with disabilities excel in tech
Microsoft wants to help people with disabilities excel in their technology careers, which is why it has launched a first-of-its-kind pilot program to achieve those goals.More
Story image
Fortinet SOARs to new heights of protection on the wings of AI & automation
Jon McGettigan, Fortinet A/NZ Regional Director, talks about SOAR (security orchestration, automation and response) and explains that effective SOAR starts with your security policy.More
Story image
Enterprise storage market knocked by COVID-19, but may bounce back
The overall APAC storage market revenue is now expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% during 2019-2024, compared to the previous forecast of 14.6% before the COVID-19 outbreak.More
Story image
Telecom equipment market returns to growth in 2Q20
According to research by Dell’Oro shows that the global market is finding its feet again with vendor ranking remaining stable.More
Story image
Check Point acquires Odo Security to bolster remote security offering
The deal will integrate Odo’s remote access software with Check Point’s Inifinity architecture, bolstering the latter company’s remote security capabilities in a time where working and learning from home has become the norm, and looks to largely remain that way in the near future.More
Link image
Put the pedal to the metal on the road to automation
Forrester data indicates that process automation was a strategic initiative for many organizations before COVID and remains so after. Catch this webinar to learn more about automation.More