Researchers use Oura smart rings to predict onset of COVID-19 symptoms

The study is tracking 1,000 frontline healthcare workers.


Smart ring maker Oura has teamed up with West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute to try to predict the spread of COVID-19 in healthcare providers. By combining the wearables with an AI prediction model, the researchers can currently predict symptoms like fever, cough and fatigue 24 hours before their onset. The team -- which is tracking 1,000 healthcare professionals -- hopes to increase that lead time to three days or more. The ability to more quickly provide a prognosis will hopefully limit the spread of the virus among healthcare workers, patients, family members and the public.

The scientists at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute are leveraging Oura’s biometric sensors to measure increased body temperature, as well as psychologically-driven changes induced by stress and anxiety. The researchers have also leveraged Oura’s technology in studies concerning chronic pain, addiction, aging and more.

The University of California San Francisco has been carrying out a study similar to WVU’s, which also uses Oura rings and an algorithm to track the vitals of 2,000 emergency medical workers. The simplicity of wearables could help alert healthcare workers to subtle signs of infection, allowing them to more quickly make the decision to self-isolate and help prevent spreading the virus further.