Liechtenstein is piloting a program to study to track the emergence of potential cases of Covid-19 in real-time. Zurich-based Femtech startup Ava will supply 2000 of its Ava wristbands to the Principality, according to an announcement. The data obtained should make early detection possible.
The wearable device is normally used as a fertility tracker for women. In March, the startup announced a discount for researchers. The medical product measures skin temperature, pulse and respiratory rate as well as blood flow and heart rate variability during sleep. The so-called Covi-Gapp study intends to combine these data with data from Covid-19 patients in order to use a new algorithm for the early detection of infected individuals, reports netzwoche.
The study will be conducted with approximately 2200 Liechtenstein citizens between 33 and 51 years of age, each of whom will wear an Ava bracelet on a voluntary basis. The group of test persons represents more than five percent of the Principality’s population. In the second phase, the study is to be expanded to include the entire population, it is further stated. The first results of the study are expected to be published in autumn.
“From a scientific point of view, it is crucial to gain a better understanding of the new coronavirus as quickly as possible. Reliable early detection of Covid-19 helps in the race against the further spread,” says Professor Lorenz Risch, initiator, and head of the study.
The Principality of Liechtenstein also contributes financially to the study. When asked about data protection, the Liechtenstein government assured the German-language Swiss newspaper ‘Handelszeitung’ that it has no access to the health data of the study.
In the course of the pandemic, Ava has begun to use its wearable in other areas of the health care system. In the future, the Ava wristband could, for example, be used as a remote measuring device for risk groups.