How STEM has made a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic
Scientific and medical knowledge has continued to aid us in the fight against this ongoing global pandemic. Drug treatments for COVID-19 are already in the experimental phase, with many clinical trials ongoing and a number of vaccine candidates under development. Research into blood therapies, including plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, provides hope for a treatment and possibly a cure.
During the lockdown we have adapted quickly to new ways of working, new methods to engage with customers, our workforce, and the community - the use of digital technology has made all this possible.
Having technology at our fingertips has also allowed epidemiologists and experts around the world to connect, share data and better predict how quickly the disease will spread and how deadly it will become.
Contact tracing apps will hopefully have a significant impact on managing this pandemic but with globalisation increasing there is a likelihood we will face future pandemics - data-driven technology holds the key to navigating the uncertainty ahead.
Engineering is about problem solving and Renishaw played its part in helping to solve one of the Engineering challenges during the pandemic. As part of a consortium called VentilatorChallengeUK, it helped to deliver 13,437 ventilators, ensuring that the NHS always had access to the number of ventilators it needed.
Some young engineers also used their skills effectively during the pandemic. Tom Lawson a Renishaw apprentice used his 3D printer to make face-shields for frontline workers in Gloucestershire and Matthew Johnson, another apprentice, used a laser cutter to make plastic clips for masks to provide better comfort for those that needed to wear them for prolonged periods.
Maths can help us to fight a pandemic by developing and using mathematical models that can help us predict what will happen next and how different interventions might change that.
Data analysis of the spread of the disease has helped provide us with the necessary foundation that makes it possible to make recommendations for the actions that we should all be taking today to make a difference.