Hackathon aims to find solutions amid coronavirus crisis

Teams from across the world have taken part in an online hackathon to find solutions to the coronavirus crisis.

The #HackCorona event was organised by Data Natives, a high-profile digital conference that occurs every year in Berlin.

Taking place over the weekend, organisers of the event heard pitches for various digital solutions to the challenges posed by coronavirus.

These included health check apps, platforms to organise everyday help while in quarantine and a digital solution that simulates how the SARS-CoV-2 virus reacts towards different molecules.

The event involved more than 300 programmers, scientists, and designers, and as face-to-face meetings were impossible, participants used tools such as Slack, Google Hangouts and the video platform Zoom to communicate.

More than 20 teams worked on solutions and presented them to a judging panel on Sunday afternoon, with the support of Bayer, whose experts supported the teams as mentors.

The panel ultimately selected eight teams as winners, and they can now further develop their projects with support from experts.

One team from 3D printing firm Formlabs worked on a solution to produce more swabs for COVID-19 tests.

The team said it is working with three hospitals from around the US to 3D print the swabs, with around 300 produced at the same time from the same material as surgical resin.

The company said the technology is undergoing clinical evaluation and it already has 1,000 printers to help.


Another team created COVID-19 case tracking software over the course of the 48-hour event.

Max Wegner, who is responsible for Regulatory Affairs at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, said: “I encountered some very committed people, who presented amazing analyses. I really hope that they can actually use their solutions to fight the virus.

Andreas Steffen, who heads DT Labs at Bayer, added: “XT bioreactors are aiming to leverage Artificial Intelligence to speed up vaccine production. COVID Encounters are working on an app that warns of potential infections – the energy of the teams was really inspiring.”

Feature image courtesy of NIAID/Rocky Mountain Laboratories



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