New York, December 15th
Temperature data collected by wearable devices worn on the finger, such as a ring, can be reliably used to detect the onset of fever, a major symptom of both Covid-19 and the flu, the researchers say.
In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, more than 65,000 people wearing a ring made by the Finnish startup Oura recorded temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and activity levels. The aim of the study is to develop an algorithm that can predict the onset of symptoms such as fever, cough and fatigue, which are characteristic of Covid-19.
“With wearable devices that can measure temperature, we can begin to imagine a Covid public early warning system,” said study author Benjamin Smarr of the University of California, San Diego, USA.
Wear items such as the Oura ring can collect temperature data continuously throughout the day and night, allowing researchers to measure people’s basal temperatures and identify fever peaks more accurately.
“The temperature varies not only from person to person, but also for the same person at different times of the day,” Smarr said.
The study highlights the importance of continuous data collection over long periods of time. Moreover, the lack of continuous data is also the reason why punctual temperature checks are not effective for the detection of Covid-19. These on-the-spot checks are the equivalent of catching one syllable per minute in a conversation, rather than whole sentences, Smarr said.
In the study, the research team noted that the onset of fever often occurred before subjects reported symptoms and even those who never reported other symptoms.
It supports the hypothesis that some fever-like events may go unreported or unnoticed without being truly asymptomatic, “the researchers wrote.
Portable products can therefore help to identify rates of asymptomatic disease as opposed to undeclared disease, which is of particular importance in the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We need to make sure our algorithms work for everyone,” Smarr said.
In the future, researchers plan to extend their early detection methods to other infectious diseases, such as the flu. IANS