Digital Health

Corona infection? The smartwatch also provides clues!

While the first rapid tests for home use are available in Germany, U.S. researchers are introducing another way that technology can detect SARS-COV2 infection - via smartphone.

On //next, we have already acknowledged that artificial intelligence (AI) can identify Covid19 from a cough - or at the latest from X-ray images of the lungs. Now we are once again looking across the pond, more precisely at Mount Sinai University in New York. 

Researchers there have shown that even a slight change in heart rate variability can diagnose the onset of Covid-19 - up to seven days before a conventional nasal or throat swab would sound the alarm.

The tool of choice to indicate such a change in heart rate variability in this field trial was the Apple Watch - coupled with a special app to enrich the smartwatch's data stream with information from the test subjects, such as a daily symptom report.

The Warrior Watch Study ran between April and September with several hundred staff members at Mount Sinai Health System before its results were presented in the Journal of Medical Internet Research on Jan. 29, 2021. 


“This study highlights the future of digital health,” says one of the study’s authors, Robert P. Hirten: developing a way to identify people who might be sick even before they know they are infected would be "a breakthrough in the management of COVID-19”.

And here's the pre-print of the Warrior Watch Study on the Journal of Medical Internet Research website:

Text: Ingo Schenk

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