Space technology to help NHS coronavirus response

Space-enabled technology and services are being funded with the aim of strengthening the NHS response to coronavirus.An initial £2.6 million is being made available to fund a number of projects to develop hi-tech solutions to the challenges faced during the coronavirus response, in a joint initiative with the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency (ESA), in support of NHS England.Space technology such as satellite data and drone technology can help meet challenges such as delivering test kits, masks, gowns and goggles, managing infectious disease outbreaks and supporting the health and wellbeing of the nation.Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: "From new advanced software helping speed up cancer diagnoses to satellite communications connecting GPs to patients virtually, the UK space sector has been world leading in applying its innovations to supporting our brilliant NHS."This new funding will ensure that the latest innovations will be on the frontline of tackling the unique problems the coronavirus outbreak has created, helping medical staff to focus on delivering world-class care."Last year the UK Space Agency provided £5 million for new health technologies inspired by working in space to support NHS England. These included providing real-time diagnosis of bowel cancer, developing more compact 3D X-ray machines and a mobile app that provided exercise plans free from air pollution for those with medical conditions such as asthma.Meanwhile the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme uses UK expertise to support healthcare projects all over the world, including forecasting and providing early warning of dengue fever outbreaks in Vietnam through Earth observation satellites and using telecommunications to extend the reach of basic medical healthcare into remote areas in Nigeria.The UK Space Agency and UKspace trade body are also working together to help the space sector respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

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