New study to use health data from smart rings to try and identify coronavirus symptoms early | HT Tech

New study to use health data from smart rings to try and identify coronavirus symptoms early

Almost 2,000 medical workers in San Francisco will be wearing these smart rings as a part of the study

By: HT CORRESPONDENT
| Updated on: Mar 24 2020, 21:35 IST
Personal health hardware-maker Oura has partnered with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for a new study that will test if its device, a smart ring, can help detect early physiological signs that indicate the onset of COVID-19.
Personal health hardware-maker Oura has partnered with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for a new study that will test if its device, a smart ring, can help detect early physiological signs that indicate the onset of COVID-19. (Oura)

Personal health hardware-maker Oura has partnered with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) for a new study that will test if its device, a smart ring, can help detect early physiological signs that indicate the onset of COVID-19.

The study will be conducted in two parts. Around 2,000 frontline healthcare professionals will be wearing Oura rings through the study. These rings track body temperature, sleep patterns, heart rate and activity levels.

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Fever is one of the early symptoms that could indicate COVID-19 and if continuously updated data for body temperature readings, fever can be detected very early.

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However, just fever is not enough to confirm a case of coronavirus. The purpose of the study is to check if the readings from Oura rings along with other signals can be useful in an early detection effort of sorts.  

Researchers believe that Oura data can be used for early detection. An Oura user from Finland has claimed that that ring alerted him to the fact that he was ill before he started displaying any of the other overt COVID-19 symptoms. This prompted him to get tested.

Test results confirmed that while it was asymptomatic, he has contracted COVID-19.

UCSF researcher Dr Ashley Mason has therefore hypothesised that the Oura ring can antcipate coronavirus onset by as many as "two to three days"before other more obvious symptoms, like coughing, show up.

Being able to detect the virus early on is key to the global containment efforts and all the more vital when it comes to frontline healthcare workers. The earlier a frontline healthcare worker is diagnosed the lesser the chances are of them exposing their colleagues or others around them.

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The healthcare workers, who are working with COVID-19 patients and will be a part of the study, will be required to wear the Oura ring for three months, and complete daily surveys to report if they are experiencing any of the virus-related symptoms.

However, besides these 2,000 healthcare professionals Oura is also expanding the study to include general users. More than 150,000 global users of Oura can opt in to participate in the study and add to the pool of information with their readings. Researchers are hoping to develop an algorithm based on the Oura Ring data, says UCSF.

You can apply here if you want to participate in the study, of course, you need to have an Oura Ring for that.

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First Published Date: 24 Mar, 20:45 IST
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