Blockchain for COVID-19: Review, Opportunities and a Trusted Tracking System
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The sudden development of the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the limitations in modern healthcare systems to handle public health emergencies. It is evident that adopting innovative technologies such as blockchain can help in effective planning operations and resource deployments. Blockchain technology can play an important role in the healthcare sector such as improved clinical trial data management by reducing delays in regulatory approvals, streamline the communication between diverse stakeholders of the supply chain etc. Moreover, the spread of misinformation has intensely increased during the outbreak and existing platforms lack the ability to validate the authenticity of data, causing people to panic and act irrationally. Thus, developing a blockchain-based tracking system is important to ensure that the information received by the public and government agencies are reliable and trustworthy. In this paper, we focus on blockchain abilities to track the COVID-19 data collected from various sources including news, healthcare professionals, researchers etc, verify and append them in a secure and trusted distributed ledger. Thus, we propose a generic framework using Ethereum smart contracts and oracles to track real-time data related to the number of new cases, deaths and recovered cases obtained from trusted sources. We present detailed algorithms that capture the interactions between stakeholders in the network. The smart contract code was developed and tested in Remix environment. We present the cost and security analysis incurred by the stakeholders and highlight the challenges and future directions of our work. Our work demonstrates that the proposed solution is economically feasible and ensures data integrity, security, transparency, data traceability among stakeholders.