One of the biggest challenges of the new coronavirus pandemic is that overburdened health services don’t always know how best to use limited resources to meet the needs of people who fall ill with COVID-19,media techCrunch reported. For example, we know that more ventilators and beds will be needed, but where exactly has an outbreak occurred? How can we better serve these areas? Now, British researchers have developed an app called C-19 COVID Symptom Tracker , which asks people to report their symptoms themselves in order to start collecting more details about the progression of the disease.
Consistent with public efforts to increase participation in disease control (about 405,000 people in the UK have also volunteered to help the NHS provide medicines and other supplies to isolated people and help people return home from hospitals), the Covid-19 app itself has gone viral, with 750,000 downloads since it went live on Tuesday morning. According to App Annie, the app is now the third most popular app in the UK App Store and the number one in the medical category.
The program, developed by Zoe, a start-up, in collaboration with researchers at King’s College Hospital in London, is to bring the app to the U.S. market, where it has worked with colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital and Stanford University on previous projects.
It is important to note that the application itself is not a diagnostic tool, but is developed at the national level to connect people to local services. Nor is it intended to make the public aware of where COVID-19 symptoms occur. Instead, it’s a research application designed to bring together information that might be useful to medical professionals to better plan their responses.
Initially, the researchers’ plan was to build an application to find out where the case cluster was located to better determine where the shortage of test kits might be better distributed.
“We’re talking to a lot of companies that are making or owning test kits, and the initial idea is that if we identify people who are showing symptoms, maybe we can provide them with test kits more quickly,” said Sara Gordon, a spokeswoman for the company. Because the test ingress are very fragmented, it is not clear whether they all work reliably and consistently.
The researchers then turned their attention to the useful location of the data and provided support to the NHS to determine the evolution of the virus in order to better study it and figure out how to deploy NHS resources. Mr Gordon said the ExCel Conference Centre in East London’s Docklands was now being set up as a field hospital, “but there are many other places that need to open hospitals, which can help figure out where.” “
Start-up Zoe, which is a spin-off from King’s College Hospital in London, has received about $27 million in funding – investors include Daphne in France and Coybin in Boston (formerly known as Atlas Venture), and A team of researchers who have been tracking twins at King’s College.
“We’re a healthcare startup that’s been doing the world’s largest nutrition research,” Gordon said. “In the last 25 years (before the startup achieved or withdrew) and 8,000 sets of twins, not only through King’s College Hospital in London, but also Stanford University and Mass General.
The idea of studying food intake and blood and faeces samples is to “understand all the information about how genes determine how we metabolize food, our immune response, and so on,” using twins with almost identical DNA to do this, and using this input to identify new insights into cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Last week, Tim Spector, co-founder of Zoe, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and director of the British Centre for The Study of Twins, said they had used Zoe to track other parts of their lives to see how many of them developed symptoms of the new coronavirus.
The company’s activities also exceeded previous plans:
“From our conversation with King’s College Hospital in London, we decided that if we re-offered it to the twins, maybe we should open it up to more people,” Gordon said. “One of the main problems here is that in the UK and other countries, the government is not getting enough data on where the virus is spreading or how serious the symptoms are. “
The application has some major warnings that seem to be still in progress.
One of the biggest points is that the application itself is self-reported. This means giving people accurate and consistent trust when describing their symptoms. “We rely on the public to be honest about their symptoms,” says Gordon.
The other is the need to get used to it regularly: the app is only really useful if users continue to report symptoms and progression. On the other hand, it may also help to self-report. “What we’re trying to do is expand what we’re seeing and find patients who scientists classify as critical,” she said. If someone has a fever for a period of time, it is recorded in red. “
Over the next few days, she said, the team hopes to separate COVID-19 symptoms from those associated with the common cold. “We are working to ensure that we can distinguish in the report between common colds or flu and which are COVID-19. “
“The data policy we have is one that we’ve got legal advice for,” Gordon said. It’s in line with the GDPR, and when we pass it on to others, people’s names are anonymized and converted to code. We feel we have super-strict data rules. She added that compliance in the U.S. is even more stringent because any research they conduct there must go through a clinical process to ensure protection, “so there should never be concerns about data privacy.” “
Nevertheless, even with all best intentions, there may be a risk of data theft when transferred from one party to the other and is no longer subject to local jurisdiction. “Building a solution that meets our current needs is just a decision we make,” says Gordon. Over the next few weeks, the team moved from commercial product to product and planned to open it up and eventually deliver it to the right people. We just want this project to start working. “