If Americans want to contribute to better understanding and curbing the COVID-19 pandemic, they can do a lot of things with little effort by downloading a free iOS and Google Play app called COVID Symptom Tracker, according to techCrunch, amedia outlet. The app was originally developed in collaboration with food science start-up Zoe and was first released in the UK; it was quickly downloaded by nearly a million people on its first day of release.
The app is designed to supplement the transmission of new coronaviruses provided by individuals with self-reporting information, as a result of testing programs and other public measures. It includes a self-reporting quiz that takes about a minute to complete each day and provides an estimate of the potential spread of the virus in your neighborhood.
In the absence of extensive, accurate and consistent cross-regional testing, there are different and similar efforts to use self-reported information as a signal to determine the full spread of the virus. Another high-profile project, created by Pinterest CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann, earlier this month launched a similar self-reporting mechanism with a similar purpose – to provide information shared with research partners and health organizations.
The advantage of the COVID-19 symptom tracker, which has been widely used in the UK, will be used in an ongoing study led by Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, and Andrew Chan, an infectious disease expert at Harvard Medical School. The research team also regularly updates their work and projects through public blogs.
The research goals generated by the app include a better understanding of the symptoms of COVID-19 and how they cluster, and help identify high-risk and high-risk areas, and identifying who may be the most at risk in the future. Data shared by individuals is protected by the GDPR and is strictly for non-profit purposes and does not include any commercial use. The team behind the app also suggests that while they may share information more widely with other medical researchers, they can strip any potential lying information from the data before doing so.