What innovation will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic? When we look back in 20 or even 50 years, what will be seen as our greatest achievement? When Shakespeare was quarantined because of the bubonic plague, he started writing and selling poetry to get by. Later when he was quarantined again, he wrote King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, and Macbeth. When Newton was quarantined a few decades later he put all of his research together to form his theories of calculus, optics, laws of motion, and gravity. The smallpox epidemic gave us early forms of inoculations, which would later lead to vaccines during the Spanish flu pandemic. Necessity is the mother of invention, so what will be invented during this pandemic?
Innovation Led By COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis has already led to a great deal of innovation. 3D printing has been used to make test kits to test for COVID-19, parts for respirators that are in short supply, parts for face shields and other personal protective equipment, and more. Some people have used CPAP machines and reconfigured them to provide passive oxygen to patients who aren’t quite ready for a ventilator. Distilleries have changed their production to make hand sanitizer, first for front line medical workers and first responders and later for sale to the general public. New innovative materials and production methods are being used to produce face masks as there is a dire shortage of N95 masks.
Still, more innovation is needed to both prevent the spread and to stop the COVID-19 in its tracks. A smart thermometer is tracking fevers using anonymized data, and new methods of early detection are being developed. Preventing the spread is one side of the equation, and advances in research may soon give us a treatment or a vaccine.
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In order to help the fight, search engines and social media sites are actively working to stop misinformation from spreading and causing undue panic or undermining efforts to keep people safe at home. The work done in the midst of this pandemic is likely to have an impact on how future pandemics are handled.
As doctors, nurses, and researchers work around the clock fighting this invisible monster, every effort to help them in that fight, from unique options for PPE to increasing testing supplies, will not be forgotten. Learn more about innovations in epidemics and how we might beat this thing through unconventional means from the infographic below.