Sensor System to Detect Outbreaks

A Rockefeller Foundation’s, grant will enable collaborating with the Scripps Research Digital Trials Center in San Diego.

The funding will enable the creation of a sensor-based early warning system for COVID-19 plus other viral outbreaks focusing on underrepresented and high risk communities.

The Collaboration will enable expansion of the DETECT study, which uses real time digital detection for COVID-19 and other viral illnesses. The study has already enrolled more than 38,000 participants across the U.S.

The app-based DETECT study launched March 2020, uses sensor data from smartwatches and activity trackers to gain new insights into physiological and behavioral changes associated with viral illness and more recently to the physiological response to vaccines. The team hopes to detect COVID-19 or other illnesses before symptoms appear.

The Scripps team hopes this approach will eventually supplement traditional disease-surveillance methods which often rely on data from healthcare institutions and testing facilities in order to identify outbreaks faster and with greater geographic accuracy.

According to Rick Bright, PhD, Senior VP of Pandemic Prevention and Response at the Rockefeller Foundation, “We envision a federated global early warning system that considers a variety of data streams from genomic sequencing and wastewater surveillance to cell phone mobility and wearable sensors to produce insights to stop disease outbreaks in their first 100 days

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