JU students developing an app to disseminate genuine info on COVID-19

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To combat misinformation on novel coronavirus, students of the Jadavpur University here are in the process of developing a mobile application to disseminate genuine data related to COVID-19, an educator of the institute said on Wednesday.

The ‘infobank’ will contain all verifiable and accurate information on the disease, the teacher associated with the university’s Innovation Council said.

“A lot of misinformation on novel coronavirus is being spread, ranging from its origin to symptoms and means of transmission. This unnecessarily creates panic and confusion among the people. The infobank will dispel all wrong information,” the educator told PTI.

The process of creating the infobank began at an all- India hackathon organised by the computer science department of the university wherein students had presented the concept at a time when the disease had just marked its footprint in India, he said.

“As the concept generated enthusiasm among the organizers and participants of the event, we asked the students to work on it and later make a prototype,” the teacher said.

However, work on the prototype got delayed as classes were suspended and hostels vacated in the wake of the lockdown, he said.

Eight final year post-graduate students of the computer science department are currently working on the project from their homes under the supervision of teachers, the teacher said.

“Once the classes resume and the laboratory reopens, we will be able to get more real-time data for the application from hospitals treating COVID-19 patients and laboratories testing samples of people suspected to be infected with the disease,” he said.

Though the application will not detect fake news on COVID-19, it will help the user distinguish authentic information from misinformation as it will contain only genuine data, the educator said.

“We will keep updating the application as there will be more research on the disease in future,” he said.

The teacher said the application, in future, will also contain information on ways to cope with outbreaks of infectious diseases as well as natural calamities or man-made disasters.

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