COVID-19 had struck many parts of the world in the last few months and it is expected to remain present for some more time. The infection rate may seem to have dropped currently, but the virus is not expected to disappear in the near future.
The various suggestions made by experts to adopt social distancing and few other measures such as mask-wearing and disinfection are currently the only way out to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Search has begun for methods that could help in reducing the testing time, apart from methods to detect virus can go a long way in responding better to the pandemic. Various scientists have been working on checking if fitness gadgets can help in measuring the health parameters, apart from finding out if a person has been infected with COVID-19.
Smart gadgets such as Fitness Trackers normally have the ability to measure the health parameters of an individual. Few of them have also been praised, owing to their capability to detect health conditions such as heart attack. Few of them can track sleep, including few other parameters that measure a person’s well-being. As many fitness gadgets have been able to measure the heart rate of individuals which is considered to be an important parameter, scientists are trying to figure out if the same technology could also help in detecting any changes taking place in the respiratory conditions of individuals.
The normal symptoms of COVID-19 present in individuals have been shown to be cough, fever, cold. However, if there is an elevation of heart rate taking place, it may also point out to an infection being developed in individuals. Fitness wearables have been able to record heart rate, including possessing the ability to store data for longer periods. This would make these gadgets exceptionally good to help track and detect the spread of COVID-19. Moreover, in cases where proper testing is not accessible, they may serve as the best option for individuals.
It may be highly impossible for knowing if an individual is infected with COVID-19 by just relying on the parameters observed in a fitness watch. However, experts are of the opinion that there would be higher awareness about the disease, even though it is a difficult task to identify the presence of COVID-19 in individuals. Since there are greater chances to observe a change in the health conditions of individuals, people may be able to identify who would be at risk and can also be asked to go in for a self-isolation or even be cautious to send individuals for getting their diagnostic tests done.
However, even if these gadgets could prove beneficial by observing a change in the vital parameters of an individual’s body, they would not be able to detect viral load in the individual’s body. RNA detection, being a complex laboratory procedure would be required for the same. Currently, a lot more scientific know-how would be required before they are included in small wearable gadgets.
Wearables and Fitness Trackers are expensive and cannot be accessed and afforded by all sections of society. Hence, these logistical issues have to be solved, prior to their deployment for medical use.
More research is required to be made in this case, since it is a novel approach and this could certainly be a criterion to understand how the society would be adapting, especially if the virus would continue to survive for a longer period.
Image Source: https://www.wired.com/story/wearable-covid-19-symptoms-research/