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Coronavirus Detection: This Tech Stock Could Help Reopen the Economy

globe with a mask and text coronavirus
Image source: Getty Images

Coronavirus is still a pertinent issue for the economy. Even though several provinces have started reopening and cases have declined across the country, there are chances of a second wave. A single superspreader event could push us all back into lockdown. 

Corporations and institutions are proceeding cautiously. Most professionals aren’t expected to be back at work for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, universities may have to move to remote learning for the rest of the year. This state of semi-lockdown will have an impact on the economy. 

However, Patriot One Technologies (TSX:PAT), a little-known technology company based in Vancouver, could be about to change that. Here’s how. 

Coronavirus-detection technology

Countries that managed to keep their economies open throughout the crisis had one thing in common: extensive testing. South Korea, for example, had an army of workers stationed outside every building to check visitor temperatures with an infrared thermometre. 

By detecting variations in body temperature, potentially infected visitors can quickly be isolated and tested for coronavirus. This mitigates the risk of contagion and allows the economy to be open as normal. 

Patriot One wants to infuse this technique with artificial intelligence and image recognition. The company’s PATSCAN system, which was originally designed to detect lethal weapons in a crowd, can be modified to detect body temperature. In other words, Patriot One’s system can quickly identify feverish individuals in a crowd. 

Thermal cameras like these were implemented across airports in Asia after the 2003 SARS outbreak. This year, Amazon implemented them across their warehouse network. Now, any worker with a body temperature exceeding 100℉ is sent home. This method is both cost effective and contactless. 

Patriot One’s image recognition and surveillance system is well suited for this. In fact, senior product manager Matthew Carle recently said that the system can go beyond just thermal imaging. “Our goal is for the PATSCAN Platform to offer all four health and safety solutions—elevated body temperature, as well as facial mask, social distancing, and contact tracing detection,” he said on the company’s site. 

Research is driven by a $4.5 million co-investment from Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster. The team has also partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), the University of British Columbia (UBC), and SapienML to create an AI coronavirus-detection solution for radiologists. 

Patriot One stock

Commercial coronavirus-detection systems are likely to be very valuable to corporations and governments across the world. A chance to safely deescalate social-distancing measures could help reignite commercial activity and help with an economic recovery. 

I believe the market for security and crowd surveillance could be worth billions of dollars beyond the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Patriot One’s market value is $160 million. 

The company is still in its early research phase. That means sales are negligible and operations are cash flow negative. The stock is highly speculative. However, any breakthrough in research or major deal with a commercial client could unlock tremendous value for shareholders. 

Keep an eye on this scrappy, little company. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Fool contributor Vishesh Raisinghani has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon.

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