STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — An Apple Watch may have the ability to detect the coronavirus (COVID-19) up to a week before a test could confirm the diagnosis.
Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Internet Research, Mount Sinai researchers said the Apple product could effectively predict COVID-19 before a PCR nasal swab could, TechCrunch reported.
The Warrior Watch Study was conducted between April and September 2020 and involved several hundred Mount Sinai healthcare workers wearing a dedicated Apple Watch, using the corresponding iPhone app for health data collection, as well as a daily survey about potential exposure, symptoms, and more.
Researchers focused much of their attention on studying the participants’ heart rate variability (HRV), which shows how much strain a person is putting on their nervous system.
The Warrior Watch Study is ongoing but the results from the previous year were published in January.
“[This study] shows that we can use these technologies to better address evolving health needs, which will hopefully help us improve the management of disease,” Dr. Robert P. Hirten, assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said in a statement.
“Our goal is to operationalize these platforms to improve the health of our patients and this study is a significant step in that direction. Developing a way to identify people who might be sick even before they know they are infected would be a breakthrough in the management of COVID-19.”
The study, led by Hirten and Zahi Fayad, said the study could help anticipate infection and allow an individual to isolate themselves before potentially infecting others.
It was initially launched to understand how the effects of COVID-19 impacted Mount Sinai’s healthcare workers physiologically.
“We also hope to identify COVID-19 infections in our employees prior to the onset of symptoms,” it says.
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