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Weekly COVID-19 Update


A Virtual Panel Discussion on PPE, a Rehabilitation Program for Recovering Patients, and a Platform to Streamline COVID-19 Data Publishing

The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health, safety, and infrastructure during the COVID-19 outbreak. ANSI is monitoring, sharing, and promoting appropriate news to highlight these efforts. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to [email protected]. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

ASTM International Exo Technology Center of Excellence to Host Virtual Panel Discussion on PPE

The ASTM International Exo Technology Center of Excellence (ET CoE) will host a virtual panel discussion on "Exoskeletons: Considerations When Deciding to Use Them as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)," on November 19, 2020.

The virtual session will provide technology experts from around the world a platform to discuss the interactions between exoskeletons and PPE. The ASTM International ET CoE, established in 2019 to pursue safe and reliable exo technologies for all of humanity, includes a diverse group of users, suppliers, researchers, and stakeholders across academia, government, healthcare, and other industries and builds on the growth of ASTM’s exoskeletons and exosuits committee.

The session will include remarks from Bill Billotte, Ph.D., ASTM International’s director of global exo technology programs, Pat Picariello, ASTM director of developmental operations, and Nora Nimmerichter, staff manager for the ASTM International exoskeletons and exosuits committee (F48).

Register for the virtual discussion or find out more about the committee via ASTM's YouTube video.

Mayo Clinic Launches Rehabilitation Program for Recovering COVID-19 Patients

The Mayo Clinic recently announced that it has launched its COVID-19 Activity Rehabilitation Program, to help people who may have lingering effects from the coronavirus disease, known as post-COVID syndrome. The program offers a multidisciplinary approach, with treatment specialists in occupational medicine, pulmonary medicine, psychiatry, and infectious diseases available to treat persistent symptoms and help patients return to daily activities and work.

As part of Mayo Clinic's Q&A podcast series highlighting issues and treatments related to COVID-19, Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, a Mayo Clinic preventive, occupational, and aerospace medicine specialist who leads the new program, discusses the symptoms of post-COVID syndrome and explains how the COVID-19 Activity Rehabilitation Program helps people return to normal activity.

Access the podcast via the Mayo Clinic website.

Inside IBM's Platform "Deep Search," Built by IEEE member

IEEE member Peter Staar, a researcher at IBM Research Europe, in Zurich, and manager of the Scalable Knowledge Ingestion group, which focuses on the development of technologies to ingest large amounts of technical documents and extract the knowledge contained in them, has built a platform called Deep Search to streamline the publishing process for COVID-19 data research.

According to IEEE Spectrum, "Deep Search" is based on a similar platform that Staar built in 2018 for material science and for oil and gas research, both fields that rely on a tremendous amount of data. Staar recognized that the same solution could be used to parse the data about SARS-CoV-2. "The cloud-based platform combs through literature, reads and labels each data point, table, image, and paragraph, and translates scientific content into a uniform, searchable structure." It uses a natural language processing (NLP) tool called the corpus conversion service (CCS).

Ultimately, the platform can generate simple results in response to a traditional search query, essentially serving as an advanced PDF reader, or it can generate a report on a specific topic, such as the dosage of a particular drug, with deeper analysis that the group calls a knowledge graph.

The platform will help accelerate the publication of timely data as the outbreak has reached more than 40 million cases worldwide.

IEEE Spectrum also reports that 2010 analysis of literature from the 2003 SARS outbreak found that, despite efforts to shorten wait times for both acceptance and publishing, 93 percent of the papers on SARS didn’t come out until the epidemic had already ended and the bulk of deaths had already occurred.

“Our goal was to help the medical community with a tool that we already had in our hands,” Staar says.

Currently, the COVID-19 Deep Search service supports 460 active users and has ingested nearly 46,000 scientific articles.

Access more details on the project via IEEE Spectrum.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response Efforts.



Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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