Early Coronavirus detection, if applied on mass, would significantly decrease transmission rates of the virus. The virus is most contagious before symptoms even show, and in the first week of contraction according to a German study, and the CDC, as 40% of all transmissions occur before clear symptoms are shown if any. Thus, a preemptive approach to healthcare, as always, can save many lives.
The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, has rewarded $718,000 to American digital healthcare company, Empatica. The funding is for a validation trial of the company’s wearable products to be used for body monitoring and early Coronavirus detection before the appearance of symptoms.
The way the system – dubbed Aura – works is that the wearable measures and analyzes data such as blood volume, pulse, heart rate, temperature, and electrodermal activity. The system’s artificial intelligence-based algorithm then calculates the probability of infection based on data collected and compares it to previous samples and analysis, all done non-invasively and updated continuously in real-time.
All data collected will serve to refine the early diagnostic’s algorithm over time to give a more accurate probability. The data will automatically be shared with the user and their healthcare provider. Patients can then respond accordingly, either by self-isolating or seeking treatment safely.
“This product introduces a new paradigm: empowering individuals and institutions with smart health monitoring, so that they will know early when they need to self-isolate and take care of themselves”, said Matteo Lai, Empatica CEO. “Without BARDA’s leadership and foresight over the past year, our early detection algorithm would not have reached this pivotal stage of clinical validation, which will accelerate our request for FDA’s approval of Aura as a medical product for use by people at risk of contracting COVID-19.”
Empatica’s early Coronavirus detection initiative is not the only project utilizing wearables and artificial intelligence driven data collection, but the healthcare company is certainly taking big strides in this field of research. Pre-emptive detection is now recognized as the future of COVID-19 detection, and as an important tool in MedTech.