Researchers in New York have published evidence that smart watches with heart rate monitors can detect symptoms of covid-19 before a person is even aware of any symptoms.
The study by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai tracked data from 297 healthcare workers wearing Apple Watches.
It looked for signs of a person’s blood flow changing when covid-19 causes inflamation around infected areas of the body.
Once a person’s regular baseline is tracked over time, changes in blood flow can be detected through the heart’s rhythm, which is traceable via smartwatches like Apple’s.
Mount Sinai’s researches asked volunteers to wear their smartwatches full-time and to install a watch app that looked for sustained changes in their heartbeat.
The study found that the watches were able to identify two-thirds of those people who were infected with covid an average of seven days before any symptoms were noticed by the volunteers.
The ability to spot signs of covid infection among asymptomatic people could be a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic.
A simple smartwatch app could notify individuals a week before they have symptoms, allowing them to self-isolate before they infect other people.