Wearable Fitness Trackers Could Detect COVID Before You Do

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Nov. 30, 2021 -- Your smartwatch oregon fittingness tracker lets you cognize however galore steps you’ve taken, however overmuch slumber you got, and what your highest heart rate was during that greeting workout. What if it could archer you erstwhile you’ve been infected with COVID-19 earlier you announcement immoderate symptoms?

That’s precisely what a radical of researchers hoped would hap erstwhile they tested a real-time COVID-19 corruption alerting strategy that relied connected the information that smartwatches and enactment show wearables tin collect. The strategy they built detected 80% of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic infections, according to a caller survey published successful Nature Medicine.

The survey progressive much than 3,300 adults ages 18-80 who installed the researchers’ app, called MyPHD, connected their Android oregon Apple devices. The app collected information from the wearables they already had and transferred it to a unafraid unreality server wherever the researchers could analyse the data. The wearables included Fitbits, Apple Watches, Garmin devices, and different gadgets that were compatible with either Apple’s HealthKit oregon the Google Fit platforms.

The scientists utilized an algorithm to look for variations successful participants’ measurement count, bosom rate, and sleep patterns. If the algorithm detected a measurement extracurricular the expected mean scope that suggested a carnal stressor, it sent an alert to the wearer. Participants who received an alert past answered respective questions astir whether they took a COVID-19 test, their enactment level, immoderate symptoms, medications, and vaccination status. The app did not marque immoderate aesculapian recommendations astir isolating oregon getting tested.

During the study, from November 2020 done July 2021, much than 2,100 participants received regular real-time alerts, and much than 2,100 completed astatine slightest 1 survey. Of the 278 radical who reported receiving a affirmative COVID-19 test, 84 participants (all wearing a Fitbit oregon Apple Watch) had capable information astir the clip they had an corruption for them to person alerts.

Three Days Ahead

Sixty-seven of these radical received alerts suggesting the imaginable for infection. The alerts detected an abnormal speechmaking a median 3 days earlier the idiosyncratic developed symptoms.

Alert signals were adjacent linked to 14 of the 18 cases involving a affirmative trial effect but nary symptoms. Further, the algorithm could observe carnal changes radical had arsenic a effect of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Despite the app’s occurrence successful identifying abnormal readings linked to infections, plentifulness of alerts went retired that were not linked to infections.

"Most of the annotated alerts tin beryllium attributed to different events, specified arsenic mediocre sleep, stress, alcohol consumption, aggravated exercise, question oregon different activities," the researchers pointed out.

But those are besides situations wherever the idiosyncratic apt already knows wherefore the speechmaking was abnormal, truthful they wouldn’t beryllium alarmed that they mightiness person an infection, the authors suggested. Though the survey lasted little than a year, the participants said they did not get bushed of the alerts. The researchers program to fine-tune their app to fto users set the sensitivity of readings that trigger an alert.

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