Evidation Health and BARDA Collaborate To Digitally Monitor Healthcare Workers For Early COVID-19 Symptoms

Evidation Health BARDA collaboration
Image: Pexels

Evidation Health, a real-world behavioral data analysis firm, announced a research initiative to develop an early warning algorithm to detect symptoms of COVID-19 and to understand susceptibility to infection, funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the initiative will work with 4YouandMe – a nonprofit that helps people share their health data for medical research – to collect self-reported and wearable-collected data from 300 participants.

The Evidation platform will analyze behavior, including sleep and activity patterns, alongside self-reported symptoms for 300 people at high risk of developing COVID-19. This builds on Evidation’s current, ongoing 150,000-person nationwide initiative tracking people’s health and attitudes during the pandemic, COVID-19 Pulse, reports Evidation Health.

“Many infected individuals are asymptomatic but still able to spread the virus, making efforts to prevent and slow transmission of COVID-19 difficult,” said Luca Foschini, Ph.D., Evidation’s co-founder and chief data scientist. “This initiative will use novel behavioral and physiological data to more effectively identify when and where people may contract COVID-19, and can potentially enable real-time interventions to limit spread and monitor outcomes.”

An office building
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Main Office in Seattle, Washington (Image credit: Jacklee via Wikimedia Commons)

The analysis, performed in collaboration with non-profit 4YouandMe, will use de-identified data generated by self-reporting and wearable devices to track symptoms of COVID-19 in those at particularly high risk, including health care workers and other first responders, in order to better understand susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. One potential outcome of this work is an early warning algorithm to help individuals better understand and monitor their respiratory disease symptoms and take precautions against their spread.

“The ability to self-monitor and be informed of health status will empower Americans in their decisions to help slow the spread of this pandemic and improve health outcomes for people with COVID-19,” said BARDA Acting Director, Gary Disbrow, Ph.D. “This pilot study is not only an early step in demonstrating the utility of models developed using person-generated health data but also may provide data to better understand the varied symptoms of COVID-19.”

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This program follows Evidation’s work with BARDA to monitor individuals for respiratory infections, such as influenza. Evidation’s existing research on influenza utilizes person-generated health data and population-based models with the goal of improving real-time respiratory infection monitoring at the individual and population level.  BARDA is contributing a $720,000 award as part of BARDA’s COVID-19 Rapidly Deployable Capabilities program to identify and pilot near-term innovative solutions for COVID-19. Support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is from the $250 million the foundation has committed to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sam Draper () is Online Editor at WT | Wearable Technologies specialized in the field of sports and fitness but also passionated about any new lifestyle gadget on the market. Sam can be contacted at press(at)wearable-technologies.com.