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Brief Published: 24 Mar 2020

Smartwatch Brand to Start Measuring Covid-19 Infection Rates


As countries struggle to roll out mass Covid-19 testing in light of equipment shortages and high demands on processing technology, health tech brands are stepping in to help quantify the growing crisis.

Last week, US smartwatch brand Vagus announced the launch of a crowd-sourced data-collection campaign to be carried out via its ECG watches. The campaign aims to capture ECG data readings pre, during and post Covid-19 infection to help detect subtle changes in respiratory function. This data aims to provide a better understanding of the disease’s progression and increase early detection. 

The study relies on Vagus watch owners volunteering to complete three 90-second ECG tests per day via their device; one upon waking up, one at midday and one before they go to bed. Information displayed on Vagus watches will talk individuals through the tests, which simply require the wearer to sit with their hands flat on a table for a minute and a half. The Vagus watch costs $219 (£187). 

Vagus plans to continue this study for a year, and make the anonymised data that they collect accessible via an open data platform and through monthly research reports. 

Brands such as Vagus have a real opportunity to leverage their unique datasets to help support the global fight against Covid-19. We discuss patient self-monitoring in The Healthcare Opportunity, but Vagus’ campaign goes step further, mobilising consumers to safely share their health data for the good of the general public. See CES 2020: Personal Electronics for more high-end health technology-enabled devices that are hitting the consumer market.