COVID-19 is often a tough disease for the health authorities to diagnose. It is contagious often before symptoms appear meaning that spread of the airborne disease can be done easily and quietly. The key lies in early diagnosis (and contact tracing) and Fitbit are trying to do their bit to aid in this early diagnosis.
The soon-to-be Google-owned company have announced a new study where they will use people’s Fitbits to hopefully detect COVID-19 (and the flu) early, building on research already underway into early detection with wearables and smartwatches. They are not the first company to use a wearable in a study to determine if they can detect COVID-19 early but now they are using the Fitbit app itself to launch the Fitbit COVID-19 study.
The study is open to those over the age of 21 and living in the US or Canada and “have had or currently have COVID-19, or symptoms consistent with the flu” and involves these people answering questions to contribute to the research. The end goal is an algorithm that can use a wearable to detect the symptoms of COVID-19 early.
The questions which can be found in the Discover tab of the Fitbit app include:
- Whether or not you have, have had, or may have had flu or COVID-19
- Any symptoms you are experiencing or may have experienced
- Additional related details regarding your medical history and demographics
Combining these answers along with your Fitbit data will hopefully help researchers to determine just what are the detectable early signs of COVID-19 (and the flu). As with all approved medical studies participation is entirely voluntary and participants can withdraw at any time.
There are so many COVID-19 research studies ongoing and this retrospective one by Fitbit will hopefully help people determine their COVID-19 status before they go spreading it everywhere without the need for swabs (that one up the nose is not super pleasant) or blood tests.
Hopefully if we all (fit)band together we can eventually kick this pandemic.