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CENTOGENE and Ubirch Create Secure Blockchain Solution for the Successful Fight Against COVID-19

CENTOGENE, a commercial-stage company focused on rare diseases that transforms real-world clinical and genetic data into actionable information for patients, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies, and the Cologne-based blockchain start-up Ubirch announced a joint solution for the successful fight against the effects of SARS-CoV-2 the virus causing COVID-19 on the economy and social life in Germany. In the future, SARS-CoV-2 test results will be stored on the blockchain and can be retrieved at any time ─ serving as a virtual certificate of immunity to the virus. This could considerably accelerate the return to normalcy for our society and the economy.

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The current contact restrictions in Germany cannot be upheld until a Coronavirus vaccine is ready for market, which has major consequences on the economy and the ability for individuals to move about freely. As it is projected that the novel virus will continue to pose a threat to society for the foreseeable future, systems will have to be adapted to include more stringent controls, increased testing efforts, the tracing of infection chains, and the isolation of potentially infected individuals as well as risk groups. In the coming weeks and months, it will likely be required for individuals to demonstrate a verified status of whether they are positive for SARS-CoV-2, or not. Such requirements are expected to apply to international flights and working in critical areas. This will be even more applicable once antibody tests are established, which will serve as reliable proof of immunity to the virus. The solution focuses on GDPR conformity: According to the highest data protection standards, user data is only stored as hash values on the blockchain and cannot be interpreted without user authorization.

CENTOGENE and Ubirch have joined forces to provide a readily available and secure solution that best accelerates the transition back to our familiar economic and social coexistence. Results from SARS-CoV-2 tests performed at CENTOGENE’s laboratories will be directly sealed virtually on the blockchain – similar to the way it is done at a notary in the ‘real world’ ─ using the Ubirch solution. Whenever an individual needs to show proof that they are not infected by the virus ─ e.g., to gain access to a production plant, public transportation, or a hospital ─ the presented result can be verified with the help of a 100% genuine blockchain certificate. This form of distributed security has already proven itself in other industrial environments. The IoT-based procedure is ideally suited to secure and verify medical data.

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CENTOGENE CIO Volkmar Weckesser stated, “We are convinced that only widespread testing of those currently infected with COVID-19 will bring us out of the current lockdown. For this purpose, we have developed an efficient test to screen for SARS-CoV-2 with an associated portal. Together with Ubirch’s solution, the test results can be accessed everywhere in a forgery-proof manner ─ spearheading a return to normality.”

Ubirch CEO Stephan Noller said, “We are working at full speed on this new partnership, because time is of the essence, and a lot is at stake. With our joint solution, it will be possible for people to present their corona test results at any time, and thus be able to move around freely again to a large extent. We have developed a central solution module enabling us to help swiftly lift the lockdown restrictions and move on to more targeted measures.”

Discussions are already underway with other partners enabling companies to be able to quickly set up a Coronavirus tracking infrastructure in which the results of mass screenings can be used to release people from quarantine or allow them to participate fully in economic and social life again.

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