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Covid-19: Can the disease be predicted with a smart bracelet?

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What if technology could help prevent and detect new cases of coronavirus? According to a study by the American manufacturer of connected objects Fitbit, connected bracelets could predict Covid-19 before the first symptoms appear.

As the coronavirus continues to circulate and affects almost the entire world, many countries have decided to use technologies and innovations, which have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic, to limit the spread of the disease. COVID-19. Some use apps to break chains of transmission or connected patches to identify early signs of infection. Others use cameras to reinforce social distancing or to monitor the use of masks.

Among all these technologies used to deal with Covid-19, we also find smart bracelets. These smart objects are typically used by athletes because they measure the distance traveled, the number of steps taken in a day, the calories burned, the heart rate, and even the quality of sleep. But these connected bracelets could also be useful in the fight against the coronavirus.

Detecting Covid-19 thanks to variations in heart and respiratory rhythms

According to a study by the American manufacturer of smart bands Fitbit, these devices could predict the coronavirus early. To reach this conclusion, the researchers conducted a survey, from May 21 to July 14. A total of 10,000 users of the brand's wristbands participated in the survey and 1,181 of them had contracted Covid-19 and tested positive for the virus by PCR.

"We consider two approaches to detect Covid-19: a technique based on physiological signs. First, we train a 'logistic regression' classifier to predict the need for hospitalization of Covid-19 patients based on the symptoms they feel, age , gender, and BMI. Next, we train a neural network classifier to predict whether a person is ill on a given day, given the heart rate data, respiratory rate, and heart rate variability for the day and time. four days earlier, "the study details.

Connected wristbands to facilitate earlier detection of coronavirus

The researchers found that the resting heart rate and respiratory rate of the participants with coronavirus symptoms were generally elevated, while variations in their heart rate were reduced.

According to the results of the study, these signs manifested almost a week before the participants presented the most common symptoms of the disease, which were fatigue, cough, headache, pain or body loss. taste and smell. As for fever, 54.8% of the people who contracted the coronavirus said they had suffered from this symptom.

The authors also reported that 47.2% of patients recovered from Covid-19 alone at home, 33.2% recovered at home with the help of another person, and 8.16% of patients recovered with Covid-19 had to be hospitalized without respiratory assistance and 0.448% were given artificial respiration.

These parameters can contribute to early diagnosis and monitoring of the course of the disease, the researchers note. However, the results of this study have limitations. And for good reason, they only represent regular wearers of single brand connected bracelets. Some scientists also report that many people may not agree to use these smart objects because they are relatively expensive.

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