Today we’re happy to announce the Epios Project, a new effort to enable anonymous testing for COVID-19 and other epidemics, with the goal of improving research and health outcomes around the world.
Epios’ flagship product is a mobile app that connects individuals seeking anonymous testing with providers who can supply and process test kits in compliance with local laws and regulations. By routing test kit processing through Epios and recording anonymous results on the Telos blockchain, potential linkage between individuals’ identities and their test results are structurally eliminated. The Epios mobile app is expected to be available on the App Store and Google Play on July 18th.
Epios uses a new, patent-pending method for recording anonymous information within a system requiring disclosure of personally identifiable information. Epios ensures that no payment is made directly by the testing subject to the processing lab, instead using a cryptographically protected coupon provided along with each test kit. Because every coupon uses cryptographic hash values as untraceable codes, labs can verify that a payment is valid without tracing it to the purchaser.
“The Epios Project and mobile app are prime examples of how blockchain technology can be used to securely collect, anonymize and manage public health data,” said Suvi Rinkinen, CEO at The Telos Foundation. “At the same time, this is an example of how Telos empowers people of different talents and experiences to work together to achieve a common purpose. We look forward to working with additional collaborators and partners to deploy and grow this app to improve disease testing and outcomes as Epios rolls out in various countries.”
There are several reasons why anonymous COVID-19 testing can provide better data and health outcomes. Many individuals prefer to receive information about their health anonymously, often due to immigration status or marginalization, where a positive COVID-19 test result could create fear of mistreatment or discrimination. Some may also face mistreatment by their governments, employers, or insurers due to a positive test result, so they forego testing and risk spreading the virus at increased rates.
“By providing an option for structurally anonymous testing, people may be more likely to get tested and take better precautions if their results are positive,” said Douglas Horn, Chief Architect of the Telos Blockchain and Epios Project Lead. “Providing aggregate, anonymous results to researchers with some geographic granularity also helps the medical community and policymakers make more informed decisions for the COVID-19 pandemic and future epidemics.”
Development of the Epios app is led by Epios LTD, based in London, UK. The project aims to create a network of project, regional, and country managers to arrange permissions for third-party organizations to record and access data on the blockchain. These permissions can be revoked at any time. The organization plans to work with NGOs, government organizations, and other partners to grow the Epios mobile app and network. By utilizing the Telos blockchain, Epios’ service will run efficiently and with the ability to scale globally.
To learn more, download The Epios Project White Paper. We also welcome participation in the Epios Project on an open-source basis. If you’d like to get involved, please contact us via the Twitter handle @HelloTelos.