Fighting COVID-19

Skills honed on mega-science projects such as the SKA are readily transferable to meet immediate societal demands.

SKAO partner institutions have played an active role in the COVID-19 pandemic response:

  • In South Africa, the government appointed the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO) to manage the design and production of respiratory ventilators nationally, because of the engineering, project management and systems engineering skills honed on the MeerKAT SKA precursor telescope.
  • In the UK, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) produced 3D-printed personal protective equipment, developed online educational resources to support home schooling and allocated computing resources to study the virus.
  • In Spain, the Institute of Astrophysics joined a national effort to develop a portable detector capable of detecting COVID-19 on surfaces.
  • In Australia, astronomers at Swinburne University developed a symptom tracking app.
  • In India, the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics contributed to a public information campaign to combat misinformation.
  • In Italy, the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) developed educational online resources for children.
  • In Portugal, the ENGAGE SKA high-performance computing infrastructure was selected to support AI initiatives that aim to improve the response of public administration bodies to the impact of COVID-19 and future pandemics.
  • In Canada, a team of physicists, led by Dr Art McDonald (Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on solar neutrinos), was called in to design a ventilator to help in the treatment of the disease.
SAVEP Blender Gas Supply and Manufacturing Facility
Last modified on 05 July 2022