Early data suggest wearables can catch some cases of Covid-19 before symptoms emerge

By: Erin Brodwin

Posted on: December 14, 2020

Category: Health Tech

Early data suggest wearables can catch some cases of Covid-19 before symptoms emerge

The results of several ambitious studies testing wearables as early predictors of for Covid-19 are in — and they suggest that data from devices including Apple Watches, Fitbits, and Oura smart rings may be useful for flagging some infections in people before they even feel ill.

Recently published research from ongoing efforts at three high-profile institutions in the Golden State — the University of California in San Francisco, Stanford University, and Scripps Research Translational Institute in San Diego — indicate that wearables can detect a bump in heart rate or temperature, the most consistent signs that the body is mounting a response to an external threat before symptoms appear. Feeding those data to algorithms that crunch large amounts of information provides a sort of traffic map for the spread of the virus — and could prove a useful tool in the pandemic response in the months to come.

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