Can an Apple Watch detect COVID-19? A new project wants to use wearables in the fight against the pandemic

Can an Apple Watch detect COVID-19? A new project wants to use wearables in the fight against the pandemic

Werables are already used to monitor health levels, recording, for example, heart beats. But, can fitness bracelets or smartwatches help detect symptoms of COVID-19? A group of researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine is investigating whether werables could be used as a tool in the fight against the pandemic that continues to plague the world.

In March, the researchers launched the Coronavirus Wearables Study. The study asked participants using smartwatches from Apple, Garmin and Samsung, as well as smart rings from Oura, to provide access to data such as heart rate recording, body temperature and blood oxygen levels, all through the MyPHD, an app created by experts.

Changes in heart rate and breathing can be signs that a person is infected with COVID-19. When someone gets sick, even before they know it, the body starts to change, explained Michael Snyder, a researcher at Stanford University School of Medicine, Reuters.

In all, the Coronavirus Wearables Study has already managed to bring together more than 5,500 participants, including 31 people diagnosed with the new Coronavirus. The study advances that, in 80% of the cases of patients with COVID-19, the data collected by the wearables already indicated signs of infection as the first symptoms appeared or even three days before they appeared.

In one case, a smartwatch was able to detect the first signs of COVID-19 infection nine days before the typical symptoms appeared. Now, the researchers indicate that they are trying to create an algorithm that uses the collected data to detect possible infections before the first symptoms arrive.

The Coronavirus Wearables Study is far from over and the team is looking for volunteers for the second phase of the study. The experts also explain that they are developing an alert system at MyPHD that notifies participants when significant changes are recorded in their vital signs.