Amidst COVID-19 spreading in major cities of the world, AP has reported on how pets and even a Bronx Zoo tiger tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Coronavirus is a type of RNA virus and due to its mutating form, the possibility of livestock infection cannot be eliminated.
On April 10, uLikeKorea Co., a Korean startup specializing in smart livestock health care, drew attention by releasing data on the live cases of bovine coronavirus.
Kim Hee-jin, the company's CEO, said, “There is a consistent concern about COVID-19 contagion between human, wild animals, and livestock. We are releasing the bovine coronavirus data from the cows that have been treated and cured at an early stage on the farms in Korea and Japan where LiveCare bio-capsules were being used.”
The coronavirus that causes diseases for livestock may be different from COVID-19, but it causes digestive and respiratory illnesses for livestock as well.
Kim noted that calves are particularly susceptible to bovine coronavirus. She cited a case study example. At a wagyu farm in Nagoya, Japan, LiveCare, a live stock disease early detection service provided by uLikeKorea, detected diarrhea symptoms and an increase of body temperature from a calf. Flunixin was prescribed and after two days the calf was found to have chronic fever and appropriate treatments were prescribed. Thanks to the early stage detection and treatments, the calf was confirmed to be recovering with a normal temperature after four days.
Another case was detected with LiveCare bio-capsule at a Korean Hanwoo beef farm at Gongju, Korea. A two-year-old breeding cow had not only diarrhea symptomㄴ, but also a constant increase of body temperature and decreased frequency of drinking. The LiveCare system automatically notified the farmer at an early stage, and he was able to prevent the conditions from worsening with the help of a veterinarian.
The spread of COVID-19 has made the farms, at home and abroad, pay more attention to their livestock. The need for sustainable and smart livestock management from birth to adult through LiveCare bio-capsule has increased.
With the LiveCare system, farm owners can receive the livestock’s biometric data through their mobile application and the website program that has been analyzed by artificial intelligence (AI) in real time. Biometric data are transmitted to a DB server through SK Telecom's LoRa (Long Range) network. With this specialized service, they can systematically manage all the livestock diseases such as bovine viral diarrhea, mastitis, indigestion, bovine ephemeral fever, etc.
LiveCare is differentiated in that it provides customers with an individual animal’s health data acquired by deep learning with AI technique-based process to detect temperature variations that can identify health issues relating to virus and diseases, and activity patterns.
Kim Dan-il, an associate professor of the Veterinary College of Seoul National University, said, “Bovine coronavirus usually breaks out in-between seasons of winter and spring, and it is a highly contagious disease and is often called Winter Dysentery." According to Kim, the virus is spread through the fecal matter of the infected cows, polluted water and food. It is frequently found in calves whose immune system have not fully developed; and for dairy cows, it can cause decrease in lactation and weakness which can lead to death. Having the biometric data to detect the coronavirus at the early stage can prevent the symptoms from getting worse and assist in the treatment.
The uLikeKorea CEO said, “LiveCare has effectively reduced the use of antibiotics and spread of contagious diseases. uLikeKorea’s goal is to provide a platform where all livestock animals can be managed and tracked for diseases on a global basis with constant data analysis.”
uLikeKorea has registered a number of patents globally for LiveCare solutions and is introducing them to international markets by partnering with global companies such as SoftBank, SK Telecom, TDC and Microsoft.