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Can smart watches also detect the new coronavirus? I'm afraid it's just a beautiful idea
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Can smart watches also detect the new coronavirus? I'm afraid it's just a beautiful idea

  • Time of issue:2021-08-07

Can smart watches also detect the new coronavirus? I'm afraid it's just a beautiful idea

(Summary description)Recently, a study was published in a sub-issue of "Nature", and the results of the study showed that 63% of new crown cases can be diagnosed in advance through smart watch data. It should be noted here that the experimenters actually concluded that “smartwatches and other wearable devices may be applied to the early diagnosis of infectious diseases.” However, many media mistakenly believe that smartwatches can detect COVID-19 patients. Obviously Exaggerated the functions and research results of smart watches. At present, nucleic acid testing is still the main method to detect the new coronavirus.

  • Time of issue:2021-08-07
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Recently, a study published in a sub-issue of "Nature" showed that 63% of COVID-19 cases can be diagnosed in advance through smart watch data. It should be noted here that the experimenters actually concluded that "smart watches and other wearable devices may be applied to the early diagnosis of infectious diseases", but many media mistakenly believe that smart watches can detect new crown patients , Which obviously exaggerates the functions and research results of smart watches. At present, nucleic acid testing is still the main method to detect the new coronavirus.

Checker: Han Yue丨Postdoctoral Fellow in Virology, University of Cambridge

 

 

Currently, most of the diagnostic methods for COVID-19 require collecting samples of the patient’s nose, saliva, or blood, and then using nucleic acid testing (or combined with antibody testing) to confirm the virus Infect. If someone tells you that smart watches can be used for virus diagnosis, you may find it very magical. Recently, a new study was published in a sub-issue of "Nature". Researchers believe that 63% of new crown cases can be analyzed through the model they set, and the results of the patient's infection can be diagnosed in advance; in addition, through consumer smart watches The activity tracking and health data can be used for large-scale real-time detection, as well as respiratory infections. As a result, many media interpreted it as "smartwatch detecting the new crown". What is going on?

1. Smart watches may have the possibility of diagnosing early infectious diseases, but it does not mean that they have the ability to detect new crowns span>

It’s undeniable that smart watches collect a large amount of data from the wearer every day, such as sleep quality, exercise effect, calories burned in a day, etc.; in fact, it can On average, the wearing device collects up to 250,000 measurement data of the wearer every day, and the range of data that can be included is very wide. In the latest study, researchers collected the physiological data and activity data of 32 people infected with the new crown, who were selected from 5,300 subjects. Through data analysis, researchers found that 26 of the infected people had changes in heart rate, daily steps or sleep time, and the proportion reached 81% of the total number of infected people. Among the 25 patients with new crown infection who detected physiological changes, the researchers obtained specific information about the symptoms of the patients. Through further analysis, it was found that 22 of the 25 infected people had physiological changes before the onset of new coronary symptoms (or when the symptoms started), and 4 of them had developed physiological changes 9 days before the onset of symptoms. Related changes.

Using retrospective data on smart watches, researchers believe that 63% of new crown cases can be diagnosed in advance through the analysis of the model they set result. In the model, the researchers found that before the onset of symptoms, the ratio of the resting heart rate of the infected person to the average baseline of the individual would suddenly rise, and finally came to the conclusion: by detecting the activity data and health data of the consumer's wearable device, it is It may be used for large-scale, real-time detection of respiratory infections, especially before the symptoms of infection appear.

It should be noted here that the experimenters finally concluded that smart watches and other wearable devices may be applied to the early stages of infectious diseases Diagnosed, but it was quickly interpreted by some media as wearable devices successfully detected patients with COVID-19. One of the two conclusions is possible (further verification is needed), and the other conclusion shows that the facts have been realized, and the gap is very large.

Second, if the research is to be widely used, there are still many problems to be solved

First of all, in the experiment, conclusions are drawn by analyzing the physiological changes of the patient’s heart rate, daily activity steps, or sleep time. However, the factors that affect these physiological processes are very diverse in daily life. It is difficult to say that the new crown infection is the only cause of these changes; secondly, even if these physiological indicators change, it may be caused by other diseases, not just the cause of the new crown; Finally, the number of samples used in the experiment is small, and it has not been verified by large-scale samples, and the correct rate of the model used in the experiment has not been truly verified. Therefore, at this stage, this method can only be used as an auxiliary means of disease diagnosis at best.

Although the sensitivity of nucleic acid detection is high, when a patient is diagnosed, the virus has often multiplied in the patient’s body for a period of time. Therefore, many people hope that other "early detection" methods other than nucleic acids can appear, but most of these methods currently lack the support of complete scientific mechanisms and verification of real data.

In terms of COVID-19 prevention and treatment, early detection of the virus while increasing self-isolation and early treatment are critical to controlling the spread of the disease. We also hope that a more efficient diagnosis method will come out as soon as possible to solve our "pain points" in disease diagnosis.

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