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In a study called “Warrior Watch,” Mount Sinai Medical Center researchers found that smartwatches including the Apple watch are able to detect changes in the user’s heartbeat. This can be an indicator that the coronavirus is present up to seven days before any visible symptoms are developed.
Based upon how well the immune system is working, the study analyzes the variation in time between each heartbeat. Better known as “heart rate variability” (HRV). Participants in this study wore Apple watches equipped to measure changes in their HRV.
Dr. Robert Hirten, assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York City said:
We already knew that heart rate variability markers change as inflammation develops in the body, and Covid is an incredibly inflammatory event, It allows us to predict that people are infected before they know it.
A Stanford University study found that 81 percent of participants wearing a variety of smartwatches such as Apple, Fitbit, and Garmin had HRV irregularity readings up to nine days prior to symptoms.
One of the major challenges in managing a global pandemic is being able to identify individuals that have contracted COVID-19 but are asymptomatic. These studies have made it clear that a smartwatch could have a very big role to play in the early identification and management of the pandemic.
Dr. Hirten says:
Developing a way to identify people who might be sick even before they know they are infected would really be a breakthrough in the management of Covid-19, This technology allows us not only to track and predict health outcomes but also to intervene in a timely and remote manner, which is essential during a pandemic that requires people to stay apart.
An artificial intelligence product called CovidDeep developed by a company called NeuTigers can help inform those in clinical environments and nursing homes of their transmission risk. This new wearable called Empatica E4 will monitor regular skin, heart-rate, and blood pressure readings.
The purpose of these readings will be to detect COVID-19 symptoms early. This data is then sent to the CovidDeep system that recognizes the virus at a rate of 90 percent.
Smartwatch New Tech Availability
When this technology will make its way on the wrist of the general public is still unknown. But companies like NeuTigers has committed to producing an app that would work with Apple, Fitbit, Samsung, and other smartwatch brands.
Now that vaccines are being implemented worldwide, a smartwatch may soon be more than just a reminder to get steps in.
Written by Omari Jahi
TechRadar: Your smartwatch could detect Covid-19 before you do, Axel Metz
MailOnline: Covid-19 could be detected by wearing a smartwatch that spots the infection up to nine days BEFORE you get symptoms by looking for changes in heart rate, VANESSA CHALMERS
Featured and Top Image by Maurizio Pesce Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by JERRYE AND ROY KLOTZ MD Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License