As per the researchers at the University of California San Diego, UC San Francisco, and MIT Lincoln Lab, temperature data extracted by a sensor-fitted ring worn on the finger is reliable to detect the onset of fevers, a prime symptom of COVID-19 and flu.
The findings can be seen in a paper titled “Feasibility of continuous fever monitoring using wearable devices,” published in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’ December 14 edition. It’s imperative to note that the study from TemPredict includes data with only 50 participants reporting COVID-19.
This smart ring is developed by Finnish startup Oura, and it records temperature, heart rate, activity levels, and measures respiratory readings. The latest study aims at creating an algorithm capable of predicting the onset of symptoms like fever, fatigue, or cough, which are also the most common for a COVID-19 infection. The team of researchers is hopeful about meeting the targets by the end of 2021. They also believe this algorithm will come in handy for health authorities to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
“With wearable devices that can measure temperature, we can begin to envision a public COVID early alert system,” said Benjamin Smarr, the paper’s corresponding author and a professor at UC San Diego.
Smarr also emphasizes that users should feel secure enough while sharing their data for such technologies to work effectively. The data extracted doesn’t include personal information such as location and carries a random identifying number.
Oura ring collects temperature data throughout the time it’s worn, enabling researchers to measure the wearer’s actual body temperature baselines and identify fevers more precisely. “Temperature varies not only from person to person but also for the same person at different times of the day,” Smarr added.
The study throws light on the importance of collecting data constantly for long durations. The lack of continuous data flow is also a reason why temperature spot checks haven’t proved effective to detect COVID-19.
The 50 users of the Oura ring in the study already had COVID-19 before joining the TemPredict study. The ring collected data during the time of sickness and researchers thoroughly studied the summaries of their illness. It was learned that the onset of the fever was pretty clear.
The study recorded data from 65,000 participants which will be stored at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego. Another team of experts is developing a portal where other researchers can access this data for their analyses.
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