Current research suggests that a person infected with COVID-19 can infect others as early as three days before they begin to experience symptoms. In fact, the most contagious period likely occurs during the 48 hours before they start to feel unwell. A new digital platform that works with an Oura Ring health tracker can now predict a diagnosis of COVID-19 three days before symptom onset.
The West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) created the new platform in collaboration with Oura Health. The Oura Ring is a sleek, discrete wearable that looks like a piece of jewelry. It combines advanced sensors, an accelerometer, and a gyroscope to track heart rate, HRV, steps, body temperature, and sleep. Oura Health partnered with the University of California San Francisco for research into symptom prediction at the start of the Coronavirus crisis, which Health Tech Insider covered in March.
The new platform created by RNI involves a mobile app that allowed participants in an initial study to track stress, anxiety, memory, and other metrics. This information is combined with data from the Oura Ring, including activity patterns, body temperature, respiratory rate, and more. AI algorithms then analyze the comprehensive data for patterns that suggest early symptom emergence.
A study that included 600 healthcare professionals and first responders showed that RNI’s platform forecasted the onset of COVID-19 symptoms three days in advance with more than 90% accuracy. RNI is partnering with Thomas Jefferson University, Vanderbilt University, and other institutions for a second trial phase, which will also incorporate location information that could help identify outbreaks and assist in contact tracing.
Promising results like these suggest that consumer wearables could impact public health in the pandemic era. The platform could lessen presymptomatic spread among healthcare and essential workers, first responders, and communities. And individuals willing to invest in an Oura Ring could potentially use the RNI app to prevent spread among household members by allowing them to self-quarantine in advance if infected.