New York, Dec. 15 (IANS) Temperature data collected by portable devices worn on the finger as a ring can be reliably used to detect the onset of fevers, a major symptom of both Covid-19 and the flu, researchers say.
In a study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, more than 65,000 people wore a ring made by Finnish startup Oura, recorded temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and activity levels.
The aim of the study is to develop an algorithm that can predict the onset of symptoms such as fever, cough, and fatigue that are characteristic of Covid-19.
“With portable devices that can measure temperature, we can spot a public Covid early alarm system,” said study author Benjamin Smarr of the University of California, San Diego in the United States.
Portables like the Oura ring can collect temperature data continuously during the day and night, allowing researchers to measure the true temperature baselines and identify fever peaks more accurately.
“Temperature varies not only from person to person but also for the same person at different times of the day,” Smarr said.
The study highlights the importance of collecting data continuously over long periods of time. Moreover, the lack of continuous data is also why temperature point controls are not effective for detecting Covid-19.
These point controls are equivalent to capturing a syllable per minute in a conversation, rather than whole sentences, Smarr said.
In the study, the research team noted that febrile onset often occurred before subjects reported symptoms, and even to those who never reported other symptoms.
It supports the hypothesis that some fever-like events may be unreported or unnoticed without being truly asymptomatic, ”the researchers wrote.
Portables can therefore contribute to identifying indications of asymptomatic disease as opposed to unreported disease, which is critical in the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We need to make sure our algorithms work for everyone,” Smarr said.
In the future, researchers plan to expand their early detection methods to other infectious diseases, such as the flu.
bu / in