AI uses data from Oura wearables to predict COVID-19 three days early

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Researchers have successfully used AI to analyse data from Oura’s wearable rings and predict COVID-19 symptoms three days early.

The researchers, from WVU Medicine and the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, first announced the potentially groundbreaking project in April.

At the time, the researchers found they could predict COVID-19 symptoms – including fever, cough, and fatigue – up to 24 hours before their onset.

“The holistic and integrated neuroscience platform developed by the RNI continuously monitors the human operating system, which allows for the accurate prediction of the onset of viral infection symptoms associated with COVID-19,” said Ali Rezai, M.D., executive chair of the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute.

“We feel this platform will be integral to protecting our healthcare workers, first responders, and communities as we adjust to life in the COVID-19 era.”

Participants in the study were asked to log neurological symptoms like stress and anxiety in an app. The Oura ring, meanwhile, automatically tracks physiological data like body temperature, heart rate, and sleep patterns.

“We are hopeful that Oura’s technology will advance how people identify and understand our body’s most nuanced physiological signals and warning signs, as they relate to infectious diseases like COVID-19,” explained Harpreet Rai, CEO of Oura Health.

“Partnering with the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute on this important study helps fulfil Oura’s vision of offering data for the public good and empowering individuals with the personal insights needed to lead healthier lives.”  

Using an AI prediction model, the researchers have improved their ability to track COVID-19 symptoms from 24 hours before their onset to three days.

The accuracy rate for the current system is 90 percent. While impressive, that does mean 100 people in every 1000 patients could be misdiagnosed if such a system was widely rolled out.

This isn’t the only research into the use of wearables to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic – Fitbit is also conducting a large study into whether its popular wearables can detect markers which may indicate that a user is infected with the novel coronavirus and should therefore quarantine and seek a professional test.

With the COVID-19 pandemic looking set to disrupt our lives for the foreseeable future, it seems AI and wearables provide some hope of diagnosing cases earlier, limiting reinfection, and helping people return to some degree of normality.

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