A team involving Dr Niaz Chowdhury and led by Prof John Domingue at the Open University (OU) developed the world first digital application to certify Covid-19 immunity test results using blockchain technology. Researchers from the OU’s Knowledge Media Institute have created this prototype mobile phone app, which is currently undergoing testing, to enable verification of tamper-proof test results and vaccination certificates in a decentralised setting.

The first academic preprint was published on the preprint archiving system arXive maintained by the Cornell University on 15 April 2020 under the title,

COVID-19 Antibody Test / Vaccination Certification: There’s an app for that

The work went through an extensive peer review the following weeks and got published in the IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology on 1 June 2020.

(An overview of the work)

Several newspapers in the UK reported that the app could be used by frontline staff and the public to prove they have antibodies, and therefore, are immune to coronavirus. It helps to verify their fitness to work in certain environments and to travel. The Express, one of the leading British newspaper, reported about the app with a headline stating,

UK lockdown could be ended with help of pioneering mobile passport app says developer

(Express, 24 April 2020)

The UKAuthority emphasised on the decentralised architecture of the app stating the system uses a distributed server architecture to provide instant verification of the test results, and personal information is only stored at the patient’s discretion, allowing them to be selective in presenting test results, in a report with the following headline,

Open University develops digital certificate for Covid-19 immunity

UKAuthority (29 April 2020)

The app received considerable attention from other media outlets as shown below:

Cointelegraph (29 April 2020)

New App for COVID-19 Combines Blockchain With Web Inventor’s Privacy Tech

Telecom Paper (29 April 2020)

OU researchers develop mobile app for certifying Covid-19 immunity tests

Cryptonary (29 April 2020)

UK begins testing world’s first blockchain COVID-19 app

PrivSec Report (29 April 2020)

Pods and DLT technology to provide Covid-19 immunity certification while preserving privacy

Crypto News Point (29 April 2020)

Open University Develops COVID-19 Proof-Of-Immunity App With Blockchain

Crpto Facil (30 April 2020)

New app for Covid-19 combines blockchain and privacy tool created by internet inventor

Ledger Insights (April 2020)

UK’s Open University unveils COVID-19 immunity certification blockchain app

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