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Apple Watch study on early COVID-19 detection graduates to peer-reviewed status

Using the Apple Watch to detect signs of COVID-19 infections in users is more than just a hypothetical now.

A pair of studies published in January supported the idea that changes in heart rate could be indicative of early signs of COVID-19 in Apple Watch users. Now one of those studies, Mount Sinai’s Warrior Watch Study, has been peer-reviewed by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, TechCrunch highlights:

A new study from Mount Sinai researchers published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Internet Research found that wearable hardware, and specifically the Apple Watch, can effectively predict a positive COVID-19 diagnosis up to a week before current PCR-based nasal swab tests.

The study is conducted using Mount Sinai staff who volunteer to participate in the effort to learn more about the psychological effects of being COVID-19 healthcare workers during the pandemic.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mount Sinai has launched a study to understand the effects of the coronavirus on our staff. Led by Robert Hirten, MD, and Zahi Fayad, PhD, of the Mount Sinai COVID Informatics Center, the goals of this study are to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the psychological well-being of health care workers and learn how this stress can be relieved. We also hope to identify COVID-19 infections in our employees prior to the onset of symptoms. 

Mount Sinai

The Warrior Watch Study is still ongoing, although results learned through the study may already be actionable for implementing preventative measures if early COVID-19 infections are signaled by the Apple Watch.

The end game for COVID-19 will be universal vaccinations, of course, but leveraging data from the Apple Watch already on millions of wrists can only help slow the spread in the meantime.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.