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Apple Watch may be able to predict COVID-19 and flu infections, according to researchers

For a year now, we have been talking about the capabilities of the Apple Watch to detect signals from COVID-19.

Apple Watch may be able to predict COVID-19, according to researchers

Apple Watch may be able to predict COVID-19, according to researchers (Image: Pocket-Lint)

Now, researchers at the University of Washington have partnered with Apple to study how the Apple Watch can be used to predict diseases like COVID-19 or even the flu. These devices have very wide capacities and usage scenarios. As smartwatches are constantly checking some relevant information about users’ vital signs, they can detect signs of certain diseases.

The smartwatches technologies are becoming so advanced that NASA made available to a thousand of its employees the Fitbit smartwatch to monitor the health of these professionals.

As part of Apple’s series of health partnerships, the company is working with the University of Washington and the Seattle Flu Study. This program will give each participant an Apple Watch. Subsequently, these people will be monitored.

“The goal of the study is to see if the information collected by the Apple Watch and iPhone can detect early signs of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. If you are eligible and decide to participate, you will be provided an Apple Watch to wear. The watch will collect information about your health and activity. You will also be asked to answer simple survey questions in the Apple Research app on your iPhone about respiratory symptoms and lifestyle on a weekly and monthly basis.” can be read on Seattle Flu Study website.

Seattle Flu Study

Seattle Flu Study (Image: Chu Lab)

The study is focusing on the Seattle area, because residents “may have a higher than normal risk of respiratory disease due to frequent exposure to other people through work or activities, health conditions or other factors” .

With the pandemic still uncontrolled, the coming months will be decisive for society in general. Although vaccines are already immunizing people, the world is far from regularizing the disease. So those in charge hope that this Apple respiratory study will take “about six months”.

During the study, participants must periodically answer research questions that will be made available through the Apple Research app for iPhone.

If participants fall ill while enrolling in the study, they will receive a home test kit for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. If this scenario occurs, the study benefits even more, since the sick participants will be asked to “make some additional health measurements using their Apple Watch”.

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