Here’s the Covid-19 reset that might save the Malaysian economy


“We still need to remain vigilant about the spread of the virus,” said AxialHealth founder Shawn Tan, shown here demonstrating how the Vpass works.“We still need to remain vigilant about the spread of the virus,” said AxialHealth founder Shawn Tan, shown here demonstrating how the Vpass works.

Intelligent digital health platform enables affordable frequent or daily testing to restore normalcy to live, work and play.

AFTER more than a year spent in isolation and quarantine due to Covid-19, many have come away wondering if the world will be returning to its pre-pandemic normalcy.

The answer, however, is not so straightforward; while there are many reasons to stay cautious in the wake of rising mutated variants, staying cloistered for so long has quickly demonstrated economic repercussions.

In an article by market and consumer data specialist Statista, the global gross domestic product (GDP) last year declined by 6.7% owing to the pandemic’s outbreak. Latin America suffered a heavy GDP loss of 8.5%.

Closer to home, only 4.7% of Malaysian businesses reported being able to survive for more than six months in the ‘Effects of Covid-19 on Companies and Business Firms’ survey conducted by the Department of Statistics in 2020

A bitter yet unavoidable pill to swallow, the movement control (MCO) 1.0 reportedly charted daily losses at a whopping RM2.4bil, which fell to RM300mil in MCO 2.0 as the pandemic eased and more economic sectors resumed operations.

However this was short-lived as a sudden spike in infections in May this year meant the swift reinstatement of MCO 3.0, just as the Delta variant surfaced in the country.

Social discord

But the pandemic has not only played havoc with the economy, it has also affected all layers of society both socially and mentally.

Police reported that suicide soared up to 336 cases in the first three months of the year – an average of four every day.

Not to mention, the need to socialise has caused many to gather illegally, leading to crackdowns by the police, for something as simple as celebrating a birthday.

But many experts today agree that it is time to hit the reset button and revive the economy, albeit under cautious circumstances.

And that’s why having a new method of ensuring and proving each person is free of infection is crucial.

Clear horizons

Recently, AxialHealth has made a game-changing move that might just propel the country back on its feet.

As a subsidiary of artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem builder Skymind, AxialHealth was established in 2019 as a response to the first outbreak in Wuhan, China, where it helped develop a technology that transforms healthcare through AI, starting with medical devices, imaging and diagnosis.

Today, the AxialHealth Al-based Covid-19 CT Scan diagnosis system is being deployed at the Hospital Tunku Azizah Kuala Lumpur, in order to advance the adoption of analytics and AI in clinical and healthcare research on Covid-19 in Malaysia.

Its technology is also being deployed in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem builder Skymind is spearheading Malaysia’s economic recovery through its subsidiary, AxialHealth.Artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem builder Skymind is spearheading Malaysia’s economic recovery through its subsidiary, AxialHealth.

Jumpstarting the economy

Enterprises and businesses have the opportunity to accelerate recovery by embarking on self-initiated efforts that will help them stage a successful comeback through the use of Vpass, a digital health solution using AI technology that would restore normalcy needed to live, play, and work.

Together with the Vpass, the Intellitest presents a total solution, one that goes beyond Covid-19 infection detection.Together with the Vpass, the Intellitest presents a total solution, one that goes beyond Covid-19 infection detection.

The solution, which is developed by Skymind in tandem with AxialHealth, validates results from saliva antigen rapid test kits.

Alternate day testing is recommended by most health experts globally as it can help reduce the number of Covid-19 infections.

This Vpass solution allows enterprises and businesses to do frequent Covid-19 testing of employees and create a Covid-free zone for daily operations.

International Infectious Disease microbiologist Prof Mark O’Brien, who is also the chairman of AxialHealth Medical and Scientific Advisory Board, said daily and frequent self-testing of employees using Vpass creates a safer workplace, thus helping to break the chain of infection among the company's staff.

Vpass is not just a self-testing kit as it is a total solution that goes beyond Covid-19 infection detection.

Using a mobile app and a dashboard in the back-end, the tamper-proof technology confirms user Covid-19 status as either positive or negative.

It then provides a health pass to the user that helps enterprises and businesses effectively track employee health codes, and plan and manage work schedules or assignments accordingly.

Employees who test negative can carry on with their daily tasks while those positive can be quarantined and treated, thus, protecting their co-workers.

This eliminates issues like production delay due to sudden Covid-19 outbreaks, unplanned operations disruption because of sanitisation, and the high cost of having employees take PCR every time an outbreak occurs.

AxialHealth Sdn Bhd honorary advisor, Major General (Rtd) Prof Dr Datuk Mohd Zin Bidin highlighted that the Covid-19 pandemic demands a new system of testing that makes a real difference.

“A simple, accurate, and cost-effective test is needed for schools, hospitals, factories, airports, and places of worship.

“In these trying times, it's urgent that people have access to a rapid test that can verify the authenticity of their results anywhere and at any time.”

Skymind group chief executive officer Shawn Tan said, “Even as the vaccines are rolling out successfully in the country, we still need to remain vigilant about the spread of the virus if we want to win the fight against Covid-19.”

Tan said rapid self-testing can open the door to do business so that employers make their income, while employees can also protect themselves from infections.Tan said rapid self-testing can open the door to do business so that employers make their income, while employees can also protect themselves from infections.

He added that rapid self-testing can open the door to do business so that employees have income and are able to bring food to the table.

“Employees can also protect themselves from getting infected and taking the virus home and transmitting the disease to family members.”

Customers would have a greater comfort level in engaging with the business when they are assured that the business premise is free from Covid-19.

Tan said the company is willing to give up 100% of the intellectual property licensing fee to assist the Malaysian government in fighting the epidemic.

“The country’s economy can be activated and the economy restarted by allowing enterprises and factories to resume work as per normal and cutting off the source of Covid-19 infection.”

The Axial V200 COVID-19 Intellitest (Covid-19 Saliva Antigen Rapid Test Kit) was developed in the UK and assembled in Malaysia.

It has received the CE Conformity Marking, which states the product complies with the basic criteria of the European Union with respect to safety, the environment, and the user's health.

This allows AxialHealth access to trade in the EU market without restrictions, with the Axial V200 test kit being shipped to several countries within Europe.

AxialHealth is currently also seeking regulatory approvals from other countries as well as Malaysia.

Regaining control

This Malaysia Day, Skymind would like to share its home-grown innovation with Malaysians so that the path to normalcy can resume with confidence through the #kitajagasemua movement.

This movement hopes to inspire private sectors, companies and employers to protect the health and safety of their employees.

It also aims to create a safer environment and condition for their people and their family. Plans are underway to have Vpass priced as low as RM2 per day by the end of this year.

You can register your interest to subscribe to the Vpass starting today. Once the Vpass is activated, you are eligible for insurance coverage worth RM120,000. To find out more, visit www.vpass.my.

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