Research Discovers Wearable Devices Can Detect the Coronavirus

Results from various studies conducted by leading research institutions in the Unites States have found that wearables such as smartwatches, which measure an individual’s heart rate, also possess the ability to identify whether a person is coronavirus positive — even before symptoms start showing or the virus is detected using a test.

These results, which were announced from institutions including Stanford University, California and New York’s Mount Sinai Health System, demonstrate that these devices detect the virus’s presence by measuring the pulse of a person’s heartbeat and their skin temperature as well as other biometric and physiological features.

Some of the devices mentioned in the report include Fitbit and Garmin watches and the Apple Watch. Experts state that the technology these devices use may be useful in the future to help decrease the spread of both the pandemic as well as other transmissible diseases.

A few members of the research team stated that their objective was to utilize the technology available to discover how fast the coronavirus or any other infection could be identified even before laboratory tests were conducted or symptoms begun showing.

Icahn School of Medicine assistant professor Rob Hirten explained that the goal of the study was to detect infections before individuals discovered they were sick or even identify the time an individual became infected. He further explains that the researchers were aware of the inflammatory effect the coronavirus had on the human body, adding that the variability markers of an individual’s heart rate changed as inflammation advanced in the body. This knowledge, he said, could help researchers predict when individuals were infected with a disease.

The researchers stated that to conduct the study, they observed 300 health-care personnel from Mount Sinai who wore Apple Watches over a five-month period, between April 29 and September 29, 2020.

The researchers also quoted a report conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S., which explained that a considerable amount of transmission takes place by carriers who were asymptomatic. They then noted that their findings would be useful in effectively containing the spread of the coronavirus.

The researchers’ interview, which was conducted by CBS, also highlighted a separate study that demonstrated the difference in the rates of heartbeats of some COVID-19 patients before the disease’s symptoms began showing.  Additionally, alarm systems were developed for the wearable devices, which would notify a wearer about their heartbeat rates while also ensuring they kept a distance from individuals who had shown any signs of infection.

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