Want to help fight Covid-19? Your phone can support research while you sleep

Vodafone DreamLab
(Image credit: Vodafone)

Looking for a way you can help contribute to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic? An app from UK network Vodafone is now helping contribute to research into the coronavirus, and your phone can help out.

The Vodafone Foundation is working with doctors and researchers at Imperial College London to speed up Covid-19 research with its existing DreamLab app.

The Vodafone Foundation first launched its DreamLab app in 2015 to help researchers treat various types of cancers. Given the fact it has had years to hone the app’s features and the infrastructure behind it, redirecting the app’s efforts temporarily to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic seems like a welcome temporary switch.  

In case you missed it the first time around, DreamLab uses the collective computing power of its user's smartphones to analyze complex data. This all happens while users are asleep, so they don’t feel the impact of the app on their phone's performance. 

The additional computing capability the app generates gives scientists access to much-needed processing clout, supporting them in identifying existing drugs and food-based molecules that may benefit Covid-19 patients and more.

The more people that download DreamLab, the higher the chances of it helping scientists taking advantage of its communal computing, specifically those in search of a coronavirus cure.

If you want to fire it up while you sleep, all you have to do is to remember to open the app on your Android or iOS smartphone every night when it’s plugged in to charge. You don't need to be on Vodafone to download it, and you can get it from anywhere in the world too.

DreamLab will automatically run in the background, and stop when you start using your phone again in the morning.

If you're connected to Wi-Fi then the background data processing will use that. Vodafone UK customers needn't worry about Wi-Fi though as the network will foot the bill for any data costs incurred while running the DreamLab app.

Imperial's research aims to identify existing drugs and food-based molecules with anti-viral properties that may benefit those with Covid-19 as part of phase one. 

Phase 2 of the DreamLabs Covid-19 research project seeks to optimize combinations of these drugs and food molecules to provide potential treatments and nutritional advice for those with Covid-19. 

Once complete, findings will be made available to the medical world to facilitate clinical trials. You can download the apps through the Apple App Store, and the Google Play Store

Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is the Head of content at Make Honey and freelance technology journalist. He is an experienced writer and producer and is skilled in video production, and runs the technology YouTube channel TechEdit.