New York, December 15th
Temperature data collected by handheld devices that are worn on the finger, such as A ring, for example, can be reliably used to detect the onset of fever, a key symptom of both Covid-19 and the flu, researchers say.
In a study published in Scientific Reports magazine, more than 65,000 people wearing a ring made by Finnish startup Oura recorded temperature, heart rate, breathing rate and activity level. The aim of the study is to develop an algorithm that can predict the occurrence of symptoms such as fever, cough and fatigue, which are characteristic of Covid-19.
“With portable devices that can measure temperature, we can imagine a public Covid early warning system,” said study author Benjamin Smarr of the University of California in San Diego, USA.
Wearables like the Oura ring can continuously collect temperature data day and night, so researchers can measure people’s actual base temperatures and more accurately identify fever peaks.
“The temperature varies not only from person to person, but also for the same person at different times of the day,” said Smarr.
The study emphasizes the importance of continuous data collection over long periods of time. The lack of continuous data is also the reason why temperature spot checks to detect Covid-19 are not effective. These samples are more like intercepting a syllable per minute in a conversation than full sentences, Smarr said.
In the study, the research team found that fever often appeared before subjects reported symptoms, and even in those who never reported any other symptoms.
It supports the hypothesis that some fever-like events may go unreported or go unnoticed without actually being asymptomatic, “the researchers wrote.
Wearables can therefore help determine the rate of asymptomatic illness as opposed to unreported illnesses, which are of particular concern in the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have to make sure that our algorithms work for everyone,” said Smarr.
In the future, the researchers plan to extend their early detection methods to other infectious diseases such as the flu. IANS