Carey van Vlaanderen

LifeQ, the leading independent provider of wearable-derived health information, has announced the South African operations of ESET, a premier global cybersecurity company, to be the first customer for its Covid-19 early warning and disease-tracking solution.

With the physiologic monitoring via LifeQ’s wearable-based platform, businesses can better predict outbreaks and assist employees towards recovery by leveraging a critical early warning and disease-tracking system for Covid-19 in individuals.

After extensive lockdowns globally in response to the sudden outbreak of Covid-19, countries and businesses have to find a new set of answers to deal with the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic as part of a much needed drive to “get back to business”. New studies are released almost daily that outline the debilitating longer-term impact — even on younger people that have recovered — and the lasting cardiovascular effects and persistent symptoms after acute Covid-19. It is further clear that although a first tier of vaccines will be available toward the end of 2020, many questions remain on the safety after fast-tracked trials, and globally significant portions of the public have already indicated a reluctance toward early adoption of vaccines.

“Fortunately, the lockdowns have successfully created a new, more mindful behavioural pattern among individuals globally, and a growing range of measures are being adopted to adjust to a new normal,” said Laurie Olivier, CEO of LifeQ. Beyond the longer-term promise of vaccines, these include point-of-care testing, temperature screening, wearing of masks, social distancing, sterilisation of surfaces, PPE and symptom reporting. Olivier continued: “However, while having some prevention benefits, none of these measures is as effective as an early warning system of actual infections to prevent the spread among co-workers at offices and in manufacturing plants.”

New technologies

Businesses that cannot operate effectively on a remote basis have to go out of their way to safeguard their employees. Some businesses have been holding out in the hope that the Covid-19 threat will disappear or that a super vaccine will become available, ultimately terminating the pandemic. However, the more rational organisations are concluding that the challenge will not evaporate overnight. Therefore, adopting new technologies that could ease the anxieties of employees who would like or may need to return to office, but are rightfully scared of being infected by their colleagues.

“We owe it to our employees and our country to implement solutions to get back to business while safeguarding our staff,” said Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET Southern Africa. “We are proud to be partnering with LifeQ, adopting this world-class solution and ultimately working with their team to lead the way. This also shows the great potential of our country as an innovation hub – the Stellenbosch-based complement of LifeQ played a crucial role to get this solution prepared for the global market.”

A range of wearable companies are involved in studies to validate the application of their own products for pre-symptomatic screening. The challenge wearables face is the ability to comprehensively monitor the wide range of physiological parameters needed as the impact of Covid-19 varies from person to person. “No single measure like breathing rate or resting heart rate is sufficient as an effective universal screening mechanism. Also, while having suitable outputs for consumer use, most wearables lack the accuracy and fidelity of biometrics required to minimise the false positives and negatives to be an effective early warning system for Covid,” said Dr Franco du Preez, LifeQ’s chief scientist.

The LifeQ solution serves as a screening tool, and if no other explanation for anomalies could be found, would recommend the individual take a Covid-19 test. While releasing a first version of the product early that is geared to helping companies get back to business, LifeQ is testing a range of physiological streams that will add accuracy and impact to the current offering.

About LifeQ
LifeQ is the leading independent provider of biometrics and health information derived from wearable devices, used in world-leading health management solutions. LifeQ’s information and solutions are already used by Fortune 500 customers and partners in a range of wearable devices, consumer-facing health and wellness platforms, and health-risk tracking applications for the global insurance and corporate wellness industries. With offices in South Africa, the US and the Netherlands, LifeQ is ideally placed to globally deliver solutions, leveraging the convergence of new technologies and consumer and business demand for new approaches to health management.

About ESET Southern Africa
ESET began life as a pioneer of antivirus protection, creating award-winning threat detection software. Now, ESET’s goal is to make sure that everybody can enjoy the breath-taking opportunities that technology offers. Today, ESET security solutions allow businesses and consumers in more than 200 countries and territories to make the most of the digital world. Working with ethical and passionate people, ESET is building a safer technology environment for everyone to enjoy. This is being done through education and business’s commitment to research and development. ESET believes in technology – and wants to make sure that everyone can enjoy it in safety.

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