As more and more mysteries about the COVID-19 continues to arise, there is a desperate need for more data to help researchers and health experts understand the disease better in order to find a way to treat it. Experts at the Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago have developed a new wearable that can catch early signs and symptoms linked to COVID-19 as well as monitor patients as the disease progresses.

The device is just as small as a postage stamp and is thin, soft, flexible, and wireless. It sits just below the suprasternal notch—the visible dip at the base of a person’s throat. It can monitor coughing intensity and patterns, chest wall movements, respiratory sounds, heart rate as well as body temperature, including fever. The wearable also wirelessly transmits data to a HIPAA-protected cloud and produces graphical summaries using automated algorithms for rapid and remote monitoring.

Key features of the device:

  • The new wearable device produces continuous streams of data and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover potentially life-saving insights.
  • It can monitor hospitalized COVID-19 patients and then who can then be taken home for continued supervision.
  • It continuously measures and interprets symptoms such as coughing as well as respiratory activity in ways that are impossible with traditional monitoring. "The sensor also will offer clinicians and patients peace of mind as it monitors COVID-like symptoms, potentially prompting earlier intervention and treatment," MedicalXpress quoted Dr. Mark Huang, a Physician at Shirley Ryan Ability Lab as saying.
  • The device opens up new telemedicine strategies since patients need not come in person to be monitored. Doctors can review the patients’ data for weeks immediately via a customized graphical user interface to a cloud data management system to see an overall image of the patient’s health status.
  • It can be a warning system for those at high-risk. The device can monitor disease progression as well as provide early warning signals to the frontline workers who are at risk of catching COVID-19.
  • The system allows assessments based on data, in a quantitative way, without relying on human judgment whether a patient is coughing less often or more.
  • Since it is completely sealed in soft biocompatible silicone material, it can be fully immersed in alcohol and then exposed to a gas-based system for sterilization.
  • The developers believe that the device will not just inform the physicians about the best ways to treat COVID-19 but also help researchers learn about the nature of the virus itself.

"The growing amount of information and understanding around COVID-19 as a disease will be critically important to containing and treating the current outbreak as well as those that might occur in the future. We hope, and we believe, that these devices may help in these efforts by identifying and quantifying characteristics and essential features of cough and respiratory activity associated with this disease," MedicalXpress quoted Northwestern's John A. Rogers, who led the technology development.

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coronavirus new continuous cough Andrea Piacquadio - pexels