The World Health Organization is leveraging the know-how of one of the world’s most digitized nations to help ungum travel the world and prevent unequal treatment once a Covid-19 vaccine has emerged.
WHO is partnering with Estonia, the state of the European Union that helped give birth to Skype and where citizens use the internet to vote in elections, to create digital vaccination certificates that prove international passengers have suffered a coronavirus hit and help distribute vaccines to prime priority groups.
The certificates, to be tested in a pilot project, will be based on the blockchain technology that underpins electronic currencies such as Bitcoin. The Baltic country said it has approved a pact with the WHO. The news could offer hope to companies around the world whose businesses have been devastated by blockades.
According to Ain Aaviksoo, headfinder, the cybersecurity firm Guardtime, founded in Estonia and headquartered in Switzerland, will lead the 12-week pilot project by enrolling “explorer” countries to test how far the solution can be scaled globally, including more regions. poor. unit of the company in Tallinn.
“Most other blockchain solutions are lab projects, but it’s a challenge to bring them to billions of people,” Aaviksoo said.
“What we are offering to WHO is speed. The solution has been tested by the US government, telecommunications companies and others in terms of incorporating a huge number of parties and system stability. “
Aaviksoo estimates that Guardtime’s lead over its rivals in speed of implementation is at least one year. With no coronavirus vaccine still available, there have been proposals that people with antibodies could be issued with an “immune passport” that allows them to travel or return to work, assuming they are safe from re-infection.
But the World Health Organization warned in April that protection against a second infection among those people may not be enough for the idea to be effective.
“WHO has no doubts about ‘certificates’ in general, but about what is certified,” Aaviksoo said. “When a vaccine has been licensed for the market, it should be effective, so it makes sense to certify vaccination as a fact and establish rules based on it.”