Studies show that some smartwatches can help detect COVID-19

January 19, 2021

Symptoms can be detected a week before the disease strikes.

A report by CBS News revealed that some smartwatches can reveal early symptoms of COVID-19 even before they test positive. The tests were done by Mount Sinai Health System in New York and Stanford University in California, where smartwatches like the Apple Watch can help detect subtle changes in someone’s heartbeat and could reveal an incoming infection.

The research detailed how it studied and analyzed variation in time between heartbeats from more than 300 health care workers who wore an Apple Watch for a period of 5 months. The goal was to identify if the changes in heartbeat determine how the infection can occur even before a person can test positive.

“We already knew that heart rate variability markers change as inflammation develops in the body, and Covid is an incredibly inflammatory event. It allows us to predict that people are infected before they know it,” said Rob Hirten, assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and author of the Warrior Watch study in an interview with CBS MoneyWatch. 

Stanford has also released a study on the efficiency of smartwatches and how it can detect COVID-19. They’ve tested trackers from Apple, Garmin, and Fitbit and concluded that the devices are able to indicate the change in resting heart rate up to nine days before an actual symptom appears on the patient.

The research was done since smartwatches are mostly worn all the time, 24/7, which can help track subtle changes in a person’s health. Compare this to a testing strategy where you would need to go to a clinic or hospital to complete it. 

The smartwatch manufacturers haven’t released a statement about the findings, but it is interesting to know that current wearables can be used to detect symptoms.

by Victor
Tech Enthusiast and Movie Buff.