Can wearable devices like Fitbit be used to detect COVID-19?
Do you on a Smartphone and/or a Fitbit or know someone who does? The Covid Collab (https://covid-collab.org) study aims to use mobile phone and wearable device (Fitbit) data to study COVID-19 disease, e.g. can a wearable be used as a digital test to identify COVID-19 cases and what aspects of lockdown affect mental wellbeing? Participants will provide periodic questionnaires on mental health, COVID-19 diagnosis status, and COVID-19 symptoms and additional passive data such as location via their phones (using our Mass Science app); and Heart Rate, Activity (Steps), Sleep via Fitbit devices if they own one. This data will enable us to understand several important questions about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and is, therefore, a matter of urgency.
King’s College London researchers will analyse the data including heart rate, activity when a participant reports feeling ill or tests positive for COVID-19. By looking for differences in the data during the time of reported illness compared with their normal healthy periods, they aim to develop a potential digital test for early warning signs of Coronavirus. If a Fitbit user was previously ill or diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past and is interested in taking part in the study, their historical data covering this period can still be linked to their prior diagnosis or symptom date using the app.
The more people the Covid Collab study can recruit the better capability researchers will have to understand key scientific questions. These include:
- How accurately wearable devices can work as digital tests for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses? Could automated monitoring of disease symptoms help track the disease nationally or in local hotspots?
- What symptoms are important and which are reliable, early predictors of infection?
- How contagious the virus is, and how different social distancing measures affect the transmission rate of the pandemic in the UK?
- What extent is social distancing affecting people’s mood and causing stress?
How do you participate?
– If you have a Fitbit device then we’d like you to wear it and provide us with a feed of your heart rate, activity step count and sleep.
For more details please visit the Covid Collab registration guide https://covid-collab.org/register_info.html.