E&I Research on COVID-19 is highlighted in Nature Medicine

04/03/2021

Klaus Marhold and Jan Fell recently published on the need for standardization in technological responses to COVID-19, specifically the recent push for electronic vaccination certificates.

Crises breed innovation. And when COVID-19 hit last year, many solutions were developed within a short period of months. E&I faculty Klaus Marhold and Jan Fell are working on a research project to investigate how within the jungle of technological solutions standards are developed and propagated. A good example are contact-tracing apps. If everybody was using a different, incompatible app, there would be no benefits. The research highlights the important role of standard and how difficult it is to settle on one when so many private and public initiatives are working on a critical technology with speed and not interoperability in mind. Ultimately, the resulting uncertainty results in delays to the adoption of critical technology, after all European contact tracing took many months to become compatible with each other and support the goal of reopening borders.

A similar situation is now unfolding when it comes to electronic vaccination certificates (EVCs). Currently, several initiatives, launched or backed by countries, airlines and international organizations are in development. In a recent contribution published in Nature Medicine, one of the leading global medical journals, Klaus Marhold and Jan Fell warn of the dangers of repeating a format war and highlight the need for coordinated development and the involvement of key technological actors to enable EVCs to reach a fast proliferation. And this is the ultimate goal: to enable the resumption of activities such as international travel or restaurant visits.


Marhold, K. & Fell, J. (2021), Electronic vaccination certificates: avoiding a repeat of the contact-tracing ‘format wars’. Nature Medicine, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-021-01286-w

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