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UNBers develop app to help track and trace COVID-19 outbreak

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Apr 7, 2020

Category: myUNB , UNB Fredericton

Students and alumni from the University of New Brunswick have created an application that will assist healthcare authorities in their fight against COVID-19.

Alongside project lead, co-founder and CEO Dr. Dhirendra Shukla, professor and chair of the Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre at UNB, UNB students Drake Luce, Jacob Smith and Matthew Sampson and UNB alumni Ashlee Donaher (D-TME’14, ME’16) and Joseph MacCallum (BA’15, MA’18, MQIM’19) have developed an application called SafeContact.

The application, which can be downloaded for free to a mobile device, works privately and securely, allowing users to keep track of their locations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also help them to determine if they’re at risk of becoming contagious and developing symptoms themselves.

The main funder and supporter of SafeContact, Gray Wolf Analytics, focuses on tracing and tracking illegal activities through cryptocurrency. These illegal activities include terrorist financing and human and drug trafficking.

With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, Gray Wolf Analytics decided to recruit students, volunteers and leaders in order to develop the application. Matthew Sampson, CTO and co-founder of Gray Wolf Analytics, says that the application is capable of providing better data for resource planners, while effectively supporting the healthcare system.

“Once someone has tested positive for COVID-19, one of the most important next steps that has proven to be invaluable in managing the spread of the illness is contact tracing, which is the process of determining who a contagious individual has been in contact with so that appropriate measures can take place to ensure people’s health and safety.

“This process is currently difficult to perform accurately without the help of SafeContact, which can do it automatically,” he adds. “SafeContact will give citizens the ability to contribute to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic past what is possible with just social distancing alone.”

The application is currently being tested. If you are interested in trying the app and providing feedback, email testing@safecontact.io to get set up.

Media contact: Angie Deveau

Photo: Gray Wolf Analytics members Wesley Finck, Matthew Sampson and Drake Luce. Credit: Jeff Crawford/UNB.