Blink President Pens Letter to Biden Administration in Support of Ongoing COVID Testing

The Whitehouse
Officials are concerned about a fourth wave of the coronavirus

Blink Science President Eric Doherty sent a letter to President Biden yesterday in the wake of the announcement that a fourth wave of the coronavirus is taking hold in the US. “Despite extraordinary efforts to get vaccinations into the arms of our citizens, a fourth wave of coronavirus infections has begun, with the CDC reporting an average of 65,000 new cases in the last seven days. Vaccinations are giving many of our states’ governors and their citizens a false sense of security as mask mandates are being eliminated and venues are filling up with untested, unvaccinated people,” wrote Doherty.

This comes as the Washington Post reported that the Biden administration has advocated for a stronger role in coordinating the efforts of vaccination passport development. Blink Science, which has partnered with IBM Watson Health on the development of their passport and verification system, blinkPASSPORT™ and blinkVERIFY™, announced last week that they have joined 80 other companies and organizations as members of the Good Health Pass Collaborative to jointly articulate principles and develop technical standards for digital health pass systems that are privacy-protecting, user-controlled, equitable, and interoperable.

Covide tester
COVID Testing

But Doherty claims that vaccinations and vaccination passports are not enough to ensure a safe reopening of the global economy. “Even among the vaccinated, there are still questions about their effectiveness against the spread of variants, whether booster shots will be needed, and how long immunity may last. Unless the world’s population is universally vaccinated, and vaccines prove to be 100 percent effective, neither of which will happen, we will continue to need quick, reliable testing.” He added, “We are concerned, particularly considering this fourth wave of the virus, that attention to and investment in testing has waned during the vaccine rollout.”

Eric Doherty
Eric Doherty, Blink Science President

Blink Science is working to bring to market the first instant COVID test, making fast, accurate and inexpensive testing available everywhere.

Doherty concluded, “we believe our instant testing and passport technologies can go a long way to solving the current pandemic and preventing the next one. We encourage your administration to include in the coronavirus response, a focus on shared testing data and universally available instant tests, in addition to your support for the development of health passports.”


Read the full text of the letter below.

March 31, 2021

Eric Doherty, President
Blink Science, Inc.
9143 Philips Highway, STE 390
Jacksonville, FL  32256

President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President

Thank you for your focus and determination to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. At Blink Science, we share your commitment to saving lives and helping, not only the United States, but the world, get back to the normal way of living. We are one of many organizations working to develop solutions that will allow everyone to resume public life and restart the global economy. 

Despite extraordinary efforts to get vaccinations into the arms of our citizens, a fourth wave of coronavirus infections has begun, with the CDC reporting an average of 65,000 new cases in the last seven days. Vaccinations are giving many of our states’ governors and their citizens a false sense of security as mask mandates are being eliminated and venues are filling up with untested, unvaccinated people.

We applaud your appointment of Jeff Zients as White House Coronavirus Coordinator and the coordinated effort to explore the role of technology in safely reopening the economy. In a recent public briefing, Mr. Zients spoke of your administration’s role in the development and rollout of vaccine passports. He stated, “our role is to help ensure that any solutions in this area should be simple, free, open source, accessible to people, both digitally and on paper, and designed from the start to protect people’s privacy.” We fully support this goal, which is why we have joined with more than 80 companies and organizations in the Good Health Pass Collaborative to jointly articulate principles and develop technical standards for digital health pass systems that are privacy-protecting, user-controlled, equitable, and interoperable.

Blink Science has recently partnered with IBM Watson Health to bring vaccination and testing data safely and privately into our passport and verification system using their blockchain health data infrastructure. This will allow individuals access to their data and organizations the ability to verify that data with a simple scan. Our system will be free, private, and safe.

Evidence suggests that vaccinations and vaccine passports alone will not end the pandemic and will not ensure the safety of our population. Many are hesitant to get vaccinated and others may be skeptical about the use of vaccination passports. Just this week, the Governor of Florida announced his intent to ban businesses from requiring their customers to show proof of vaccination.

Even among the vaccinated, there are still questions about their effectiveness against the spread of variants, whether booster shots will be needed, and how long immunity may last. Unless the world’s population is universally vaccinated, and vaccines prove to be 100 percent effective, neither of which will happen, we will continue to need quick, reliable testing.

We are concerned, particularly considering this fourth wave of the virus, that attention to and investment in testing has waned during the vaccine rollout.  On March 2, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology led a COVID-19 Vaccine Credentials Discussion with the Federal Health IT Coordinating Council. In their presentation, they supported a focus on vaccine passports, rather than testing data, because “it’s very difficult to develop practical mechanisms for a universally acceptable representation of test results because test administration is highly fragmented and testing quality is highly variable. Proof of COVID health status thus remains a localized activity.” Blink Science is working to bring to market the first instant COVID test, making fast, accurate and inexpensive testing available everywhere.

Our patented technology in the blinkTEST™ system will provide instant COVID test results using saliva in a point-of-care (POC) environment. Our technology uses a small test strip, like a blood glucose test, and a low-cost hand-held device that works like a simplified blood glucose meter that will display a simple positive or negative result, instantly. Imagine a major sports venue or office building with the ability to test every person entering their facilities in seconds, guaranteeing that all guests are COVID free. Testing data can be shared confidentially and securely in our electronic health records (EHR) cloud and shared with any interoperable health passport in the world; thus solving the problem of low-cost, accurate, widespread testing.

Our blink testing platform will be able to produce nearly 50 Million test strips a day; produce more than 500,000 blinkTEST device readers to saturate the United States and help with testing; and we will have the ability to ship our tests out globally, using the world’s largest logistics organization.

We are currently in negotiations to conduct clinical trials for blinkTEST with university, laboratory, and hospital partners, followed by submittals for FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the U.S., CE certification from the EU, and approval from Health Canada. In addition to COVID-19, we are also preparing to gain approval for tests of COVID/Flu, troponin (a heart attack marker) and sepsis. In fact, we have more than 50 testing analytes that we hope to bring to market within the next two to three years, including instant test results for strep, flu, STDs, tuberculosis, malaria, and many cancers, not to mention other applications for instant-result testing such as food safety and water quality.

We believe our instant testing and passport technologies can go a long way to solving the current pandemic and preventing the next one. We encourage your administration to include in the coronavirus response, a focus on shared testing data and universally available instant tests, in addition to your support for the development of health passports. We are at the ready to lend our expertise to your efforts.

Respectfully,

Eric Doherty

President, Blink Science, Inc.

Cc:

Vice President Kamala Harris
Secretary Gina Raimondo, U.S. Department of Commerce
Secretary U.S. Department of Labor
Acting Secretary Norris Cochrane, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Peter Buttigieg, U.S Department of Transportation
Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, Director U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Jeff Zients, White House Coronavirus Coordinator
Dakota Gruener, Executive Director, Good Health Pass Collaborative
Governor Brian Kemp, Georgia
Senator Jon Ossoff, Georgia
Senator Raphael Warnock, Georgia
U.S. Representative Buddy Carter, Georgia’s 1st Congressional District
Governor Ron DeSantis, Florida
Lt Governor Jeanette Nunez, Florida
Senator Marco Rubio, Florida
Senator Rick Scott, Florida
Senator Tim Scott, South Carolina

Blink Science joins the Good Health Pass Collaborative

The open, inclusive, cross-sector initiative will create a blueprint for interoperable digital health pass systems that will help restore international travel and restart the global economy.

ATLANTA (March 23, 2021) – Blink Science, Inc., a company dedicated to revolutionizing global point-of-care medical diagnostics, has partnered with the Good Health Pass Collaborative.

Launched by ID2020 in February, the Good Health Pass Collaborative is an open, inclusive, cross-sector initiative which aims to create a blueprint for interoperable digital health pass systems as a means to safely restore international travel, resume public life, and restart the global economy.

Good Health Pass

In joining the Collaborative, Blink Science, a unique and innovative medical diagnostics and technology startup, joins global giants including Clear, the Commons Project Foundation, COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI), IBM, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Linux Foundation Public Health, Mastercard, and Salesforce to jointly articulate principles and develop technical standards for digital health pass systems that are privacy-protecting, user-controlled, equitable, and interoperable.

In February, the Collaborative released its first white paper, entitled Good Health Pass: A Safe Path to Global Reopening, which outlines these principles. Over the next three months, the Collaborative plans to release at least two additional publications; the Good Health Pass Interoperability Blueprint, and the Good Health Pass Governance Framework Recommendations.

Digital health passports will allow users to retrieve their health credentials online, in print, or on a mobile device by linking an individual’s identity to a test result or vaccination certificate to enable real-time, fraud resistant digital verification. blinkPASSPORT™ and blinkVERIFY™ are a passport system that registers vaccinations, as well as testing information, within a HIPAA compliant app, and provide verification when an individual has been vaccinated and/or tested.

“Most of the vaccination passports available to-date are ignoring one very key element– the need for fast and reliable testing. Until vaccines are able to provide reliable resistance to the many COVID variants and are universally available for every person in the world, widespread testing will remain essential to safely return to public life,” expressed Blink Science President Eric Doherty.

Blink Science is in the process of pursuing FDA Emergency Use Authorization for blinkTEST™, a handheld point-of-care (POC) diagnostic testing platform that allows for rapid, sensitive detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 from a small saliva sample.

To be successful in bringing the pandemic to an end, this global effort requires that solutions be designed to be interoperable with one another and across institutional and geographic borders.

“Fragmentation is a risk we simply cannot ignore. To be valuable to users, credentials need to be accepted at check-in, upon arrival by border control agencies, and more,” said Dakota Gruener, ID2020 Executive Director. “We can get there – even with multiple systems – as long as solutions adhere to open standards and participate in a common governance framework. But without these, fragmentation is inevitable, and travelers – and the economy – will continue to suffer needlessly as a result. We are delighted to welcome Blink Science to the Collaborative and look forward to working with them in the coming months. ”

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About ID2020

ID2020 is a global public-private partnership that harnesses the collective power of nonprofits, corporations, and governments to promote the adoption and ethical implementation of user-managed, privacy-protecting, and portable digital identity solutions.

By developing and applying rigorous technical standards to certify identity solutions, providing advisory services, and implementing programs, and advocating for the ethical implantation of digital ID, ID2020 is strengthening social and economic development globally.

ID2020 Alliance partners are committed to a future in which all of the world’s seven billion people can fully exercise their basic human rights and reap the benefits of economic empowerment and to protecting user privacy, and ensuring that data is not commoditized.

ID2020.org

ID2020 and Good Health Pass Collaborative Media Contact:
Ethan Veneklasen
ethan@id2020.org