JUL 08, 2021 3:00 PM PDT

Digital "Pass" for Confirming COVID-19 Infection Status Goes Open Source

WRITTEN BY: Ryan Vingum

As the world starts to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and seek some sense of normalcy again, people still have a lot of reservations about going out in public. How do I know if someone is COVID-negative, or that they’ve been vaccinated? Proposals abound for how to best manage this return to “normal,” such as the use of vaccine “passports” to offer verifiable evidence of someone’s vaccine status, though these have been the subject of controversy.

Nonetheless, South Korean company GG56 is forging ahead, offering a way to manage and confirm an individual’s health status that is quick, efficient, and possibly even free. 

GG56 currently has a proprietary digital tool that can be used as a mobile digital “pass,” called Pass&Go, which offers a more efficient way for people to provide verifiable evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination and infection status. The company decided to take its technology a step further by providing groups like GitHub access to its intellectual property and all source code for anyone to develop and use. According to Han Seung-soo, founder of GG56, it’s the right decision to make:

"The COVID-19 pandemic is a case of external diseconomy of global scale,” said Han Seung-soo, founder of GG56. “We cannot overcome this without stronger international cooperation. The unprecedented crisis has not only infected 182 million and taken over 3.9 million of lives (as date of July 1st) but caused a severe blow to the global economy and completely disrupted everyone's daily lives. In order to cope with this crisis, we have to make full use of core digital technology."

The core purpose of Pass&Go is to verify the legitimacy of an individual's medical records, specifically those related to COVID-19. For example, the device can verify any COVID-19 tests an individual receives from their doctor’s office. The device also uses encryption to ensure the legitimacy of the test, reducing the possibility of people forging a test result, something that became an issue near the height of the pandemic. The encryption method uses a decentralized system for verifying results to limit how much personal data gets uploaded to central locations, a win for people’s privacy.

GG56 is hoping that its digital platform can be used to track the health status of people with other infectious diseases. 

Sources: PR Newswire, Washington Post, Public Health @ Berkeley

About the Author
Master's (MA/MS/Other)
Science writer and editor, with a focus on simplifying complex information about health, medicine, technology, and clinical drug development for a general audience.
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