Amidst the devastating COVID-19 second wave, we observed that there was not just an acute shortage of oxygen, beds and medicines, but also of convalescent plasma which is plasma from those who have already recovered from COVID-19. But unlike oxygen, beds, and medicines, convalescent plasma could be arranged by us as citizens and didn't require much help from the government.
With socializing in the real world seeming impossible, there appeared no way of being useful for our users. But instead of waiting it out, we jumped right in and decided to tweak our app to make convalescent plasma more accessible. After a 48-hour-long engineering marathon, we were able to directly connect potential donors with those needing convalescent plasma in their vicinity and without the need for any third-party intervention. Within 60 seconds, a person could register for donating, volunteering, or needing convalescent plasma and get connected to verified people nearby.
This process was highly efficient because the technology involved showed the nearest matching users based on blood group and proximity. Plasma donors found this significantly better because we didn’t share their phone numbers with anyone and that saved them from getting back to back calls. For those needing plasma, it allowed them to directly connect with verified donors without the uncertainty associated with busy helpline numbers of already over-stretched NGOs and blood banks.
People could also sign-up as volunteers and help us verify leads and requirements to connect donors with those in need. In about 2 weeks, with the support of our friends and volunteers, we were able to save about 30-35 lives through the TwineIn app.
However, after the 17th May announcement and new ICMR guidelines, we discontinued the usage of our platform for encouraging CPT; but not before seeing absolute strangers going out of their ways to save the lives of people they don't even know the names of and won't ever meet again. When it came to survival, people didn't care about religion, caste, class, gender, and we didn't care about our business plan or brand identity. Humanity trumped everything else.
After this episode, we continued building TwineIn to connect people in the real world and released a beta in mid-June after the lockdowns were lifted.