Apple Watch Could Help Detect COVID-19 Before Symptoms Appear

He Apple watch It could help detect COVID-19 before symptoms or a positive test result appear. According to studies conducted by Mount Sinai Health System, in New York; and Stanford University, in California; the Cupertino company’s smart watch can “play a vital role in stopping the pandemic and other communicable diseases.”

Apple Watch may help detect COVID-19

Research by Mount Sinai Health found that the Apple Watch is capable of detecting subtle changes in the heartbeat for up to seven days before COVID-19-related symptoms appear. The study included nearly 300 healthcare workers who used Apple smartwatches between April 29 and September 29, 2020.

During the study, the variability of heart rate, or in the time between heartbeat and heartbeat, was analyzed. This test is a commonly used measure to assess how well a person’s immune system is working, the report explains.

“Our goal was to use tools to identify infections at the time of infection or before people knew they were sick.”said Rob Hirten, assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and author of Study Warrior Watch.

On the other hand, Hirten explained that the heart rate changes as inflammation of the body develops. Covid is an inflammatory event, so it lets you know when a person is infected before they know it.

Additionally, Hirten commented: “Right now we trust people who say they are sick and not feeling well, but wearing an Apple Watch does not require any active user participation and can identify people who may be asymptomatic. It is a way to better control infectious diseases ”.

Smartwatches as COVID-19 detectors

As for the Stanford study, the results of which were published last November, it was conducted using smartwatches from the companies Garmin, Fitbit and Apple. The analysis found that these devices could indicate changes in heart rate at rest. “Up to nine and a half days before the onset of symptoms” in coronavirus positive patients.

Researchers reportedly detected a total of nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 cases four to seven days before symptoms. In addition, an alarm system was used that alerts when users’ heart rate has risen for an extended period.

“We set the alarm with a certain sensitivity so that it sounds every two months approximately”, explained Michael Snyder, a professor at Stanford University who led the study. On the other hand, he added: “Regular fluctuations will not trigger the alarm, only significant and sustained changes.”

Snyder also explained that this type of technology helps compensate for flaws in testing strategies. “The problem is that you cannot do [pruebas] in people all the time, whereas these devices measure you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week “he explained.

Notably, Apple did not fund or participate in any of these studies. However, other smartwatch and wearable companies have commissioned similar studies, such as Oura Health and Whoop.