What You Should Know:
– The U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command selects Fitbit to advance the development of a wearable diagnostic capability for the early detection of COVID-19 infection.
– Fitbit plans to initiate a prospective study with Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research to validate its COVID-19 early detection algorithm.
Fitbit announced today it has been selected by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) to receive nearly $2.5M from the U.S. Department of Defense through a Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) award to advance the development of a wearable diagnostic capability for the early detection of a COVID-19 infection.
Northwell Health Study for Fitbit COVID-19 Early Detection Algorithm
As part of the award, Fitbit is working to initiate a prospective study with Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research to validate a Fitbit COVID-19 early detection algorithm. As part of the prospective study, the parties plan to distribute several thousand Fitbit devices to Northwell Health employees, who will receive notifications of potential illness, as well as COVID-19 testing to assess and verify the results.
Fitbit’s Continued Work in COVID-19 Research
This prospective study builds upon Fitbit’s work in COVID-19 research, which includes its collaborative research consortium with The Scripps Research Institute and Stanford Medicine that launched earlier this year. As part of that effort, Fitbit is conducting a retrospective study to determine whether it can develop an algorithm to detect COVID-19 before symptoms start. To date, the study has over 187,500 enrolled participants in the U.S. and Canada, including more than 2,700 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.
Fitbit COVID-19 Algorithm Study Results
Early findings from that study show the Fitbit algorithm can detect nearly 50% of COVID-19 cases one day before participants report the onset of symptoms with 70% specificity. This is important because people can transmit the virus before they realize they have symptoms or when they have no symptoms at all. This study reinforces that breathing rate, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability (HRV) are all useful metrics for indicating onset of illness and are best tracked at night, when the body is at rest.
“The Department of Defense seeks rapid, accurate wearable solutions to identify and isolate pre-symptomatic COVID-19 cases and help track and prevent the spread of the virus. To address this need, our proposal selection process sought mature solutions that could be rapidly and widely deployed,” said Commander Christopher Steele, Director of the Military Operational Medicine Research Program at USAMRDC. “Wearable technologies, valuable data metrics and potentially rapid scaling solutions for broad availability, create ideal conditions for military and industry partnerships in the consumer wearables space.”