Thursday, Jan 21, 2021, 18:24 Apple Watch

COVID 19: The Apple Watch Can Detect Early Signs of The Virus

It's no secret that many wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, record information concerning the condition of their users – ideally in order to motivate the wearer to partake in sports or to make changes to their health. The Apple Watch utilizes a few features to acheive this effect: Several training modes record progress made in various sports, whilst LEDs and photodiode sensors on the back of the watch track the heart rate of their wearer. Now two studies have even shown that the smart watch could even be capable of detecting COVID – before the start of symptoms.

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Changing Heart Rate Variability Indicates Possible Infection
Chosen wearables, such as the Apple Watch, measure the heart rate of their wearer via optical sensors – the technology behind this referred to as the cumbersome "Photoplethysmography". A study from The New Yorker Mount Sinai Health System shows that even the Apple Watch is capable of detecting subtle changes to HRV (heart rate variability) typical of COVID 19. The smart watch can even do so up to 7 days before infection with SARS-CoV-2 can be detected. According to the author of the study, Rob Hirten, this is due to the fact that COVID 19 causes bodily inflammation – which affects HRV. Around 300 people with Apple Watches took part in the study.

Resting Pulse Also Provides Important Information
A second study from Stanford, relying on far more subjects – 5,300 to be exact, resulted in similar findings. The test subjects wore Apple Watches, Fitbits, and smartwatches from Garmin. Analysis of resting pulse data revealed that the devices were able to spot possible infection up to 9 and a half days before the appearance of symptoms.

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