BOSTON: A study conducted by the Stanford University School of Medicine, United States of America (USA), suggests that smartwatches and wearable devices which measure some crucial health signs can detect changes in the body almost 9 days before appearance of COVID-19 symptoms. The researchers analysed data from almost 32 individuals infected with COVID-19 identified from a group of 5,300 participants.
The study was published in the journal of Nature Biomedical Engineering. It found that around 26 of them had changes in heart rate, number of daily steps or sleep timings prior to the first sign of COVID-19 symptoms. The results suggest that activity tracking and health monitoring with the help of smartwatches and similar devices can detect respiratory infections. Early detection can limit the spread of novel coronavirus with timely isolation and early treatments.
Authors of the study said that although present diagnostic methods are highly sensitive, nucleic acid-based techniques may require samples gathered several days post-exposure. Moreover, these methods cannot be implemented in daily routine at low cost and contain various shortages in key reagents. They noted that smartwatches and other devices are already used by a big chunk of people worldwide and measure physiological features such as heart rate, skin temperature, sleep, etc.