Your portable fitness trackers can detect the coronavirus for up to NINE DAYS before you have symptoms
Your wearable devices may detect your infection with the new coronavirus days before you experience symptoms.
There are at least five studies analyzing smart trackers, including Apple Watches, Fitbits, Oura smart rings, Garmin, Amazefits, and Beddits.
Researchers want to see if unusual changes in heart rate, activity, sleep skin temperature, or other parameters and vital factors can predict a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Preliminary data from two of those studies, examining Fitbits and Ouras, suggest that the fitness trackers can.
Ouras could predict that people would experience symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath up to three days before they appeared.
And Fitbits saw a spike in a person’s heartbeat nine days before reporting symptoms to their doctor.
Fitness tracker companies partner with universities to develop an algorithm to detect the new coronavirus before carriers show physical symptoms (file image)
Early results from West Virginia University showed that Oura could predict smart rings (left) up to three days before anyone would experience symptoms. Stanford researchers saw Fitbit (right) record a spike in a person’s heartbeat nine days before reporting symptoms to their doctor
While fitness trackers were first marketed as a way to count steps, several companies have become interested in combining technology with healthcare.
In previous research, wearable tech has been linked to early detection of a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and even kidney failure.
In addition, several anecdotal stories include patients who say their devices urged them to go to the emergency room before they even suspected they were sick.
Last month, Fitbit announced it was collaborating with Stanford Medicine and The Scripps Research Institute to design an algorithm that measures a user’s heart rate and skin temperature.
The program would notice unusual patterns that could predict whether a carrier had contracted the virus before showing physical symptoms.
“Smartwatches and other wearables take many, many measurements a day – at least 250,000, which makes them such powerful monitoring equipment,” said Dr. Michael Snyder, a professor and chair of genetics at Stanford School of Medicine, in a statement on the time.
“My lab wants to use that data and see if we can identify who gets sick as early as possible – before they even know they’re sick.”
Scientists say the portable trackers can be helpful in detecting and isolating patients before they even receive positive test results. Pictured: Nurses care for a coronavirus patient at the ICU at the Regional Medical Center in San Jose, California, May 21
Researchers said The Washington Post that early results show that Fibits can predict COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, either before diagnosis or at the time of diagnosis, in 78 percent of the 14 patients who studied them.
In one patient, their heart rate rose nine days before they even reported symptoms.
In most cases, there were also unusual patterns, but it was usually around the time patients noticed the symptoms themselves.
“The bottom line is that it works, but it’s not perfect,” Snyder told The Post.
In a second study, Oura collaborated with several institutions, including the University of California San Francisco Medical Center and West Virginia University.
Thousands of medical staff and volunteers wear the rings, about the size of a wedding ring, that detect body temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate.
Participants wear the rings at night while they sleep, and because researchers record continuous amounts of data rather than taking individual measurements, researchers think they provide a more accurate picture of a person’s current health status.
On Thursday, WVU’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute said early results showed that they can detect COVID-19-related symptoms such as fever and cough up to three days before they appear, with 90 percent accuracy.
Dr. Ali Rezai, chairman of the board of the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, says this is especially important when it comes to quickly identifying and isolating high-risk people, especially frontline workers.
“The holistic and integrated neuroscience platform … accurately predicts the onset of viral infection symptoms associated with COVID-19,” Rexai said in a pronunciation.
“We believe this platform will be an integral part of protecting our healthcare workers, first responders and communities as we adapt to living in the COVID-19 era.”
In the US, there are more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 100,000 deaths.