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Fitbit launches a Covid-19 early detection study via its app

Published May 28, 2020

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DURBAN - Manufacturer of smartwatches and wireless-enabled wearable technology, Fitbit, has launched an in-app study that could help develop an algorithm for detecting potential Covid-19 cases prior to symptom onset.

In order to gather the data needed to see if they can do this, Fitbit is asking users in either the U.S. or Canada who have either had or currently have a confirmed case of Covid-19 or flu-like symptoms that might be an indicator of an undiagnosed case, to answer some questions in order to contribute to its research.

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According to the company, the answers to these questions from participants will be paired with data gathered via their Fitbit to help identify any patterns that could potentially provide an early warning about someone falling ill.

“Pre-symptomatic detection could have a number of benefits, most obviously in ensuring that an individual is then able to self-isolate more quickly and prevent them from infecting others,”

“Early detection could also have advantages in terms of treatment, allowing health practitioners to intervene earlier and potentially prevent the worst of the symptoms of the infection. Depending on what treatments ultimately emerge, early detection could have a big impact on their efficacy,” said Fitbit CEO James Park.

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Participation in the study is voluntary, in case you’re not comfortable sharing that info, and once in, participants can decide to withdraw whenever they want.

“Covid-19 early detection could be a big help in any safe, actually practical return-to-work strategy for reopening the economy. It could also serve as a means of expanding diagnosis in combination with testing, depending on how accurate it’s found to be across these studies, and with what devices,” added Park.

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