WHY COVID-19? We've been working with Heart Rate Variability ("HRV") data for years now with our Healthzilla app. Our anecdotal evidence from our own R&D and limited data from users has given us the following hypothesis: acute changes in HRV can precede illness or injury. This has been clinically validated for acute infections such as sepsis, in clinical environments, up to 35 hours in advance of symptom onset. It has NOT been clinically validated for flu or influenza or COVID-19.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM STATEMENT? One of the unique and terrible features of this virus is the delayed onset of symptoms combined with a high viral count. In effect, asymptomatic but infected people can spread the virus multiplying the known R0 growth factor of around 2.5 cases per infection. A single known case in South Korea is the vector for 1,000 new infections.
HOW CAN WE HELP? The case for acute HRV in the presence of infection is strong enough to form a hypothesis: measuring daily resting HRV can be used as an early warning signal for COVID-19 infection before a rise in temperature or coughing is present. If your HRV shows an acute change, stay home! The risk of false positives is low, and the possibility of false negatives in the presence of symptoms improbable, due to the acute nature of the HRV change we simply require 1-day of prior measurement to gauge this change. This empowers individuals with a datapoint beyond temperature, and the possibility of early warning to limit spreading the infection.
WHAT DO WE HAVE? We have a FREE app for iOS and Android live globally that can measure HRV using any smartphone camera. There are several paid apps out there, but none that offer this analysis in addition to raw data. Our proprietary Stress Score picks up acute changes in HRV among other metrics. We already also read HRV from wearables like the Apple Watch and Oura Ring.
WHAT DO WE NEED? Financing and partners to develop, validate, and distribute these technologies in rapid manner ideally at low/no cost to those who need it.
1) Existing app: Ability for users to tag their HRV data with symptoms and declare they are unwell, and the app will instruct to self-isolate. This data will help gather a labeled dataset for better predictive models specific to COVID-19.
2) Integrating these technologies into existing partner apps, which might include govt, health, or insurance apps to provide similar features for data gathering, remote monitoring, and analysis.
3) Quickly develop and launch a dashboard for government and corporate use, allowing to track users of the above app(s) in real-time, flagging users with acute HRV changes. This can be used to enforce remote work especially in industries with high human exposure like airlines and military applications. We already have a prototype of the dashboard.
4) The aggregated user-reported symptoms data can also be used to create a heat map for public use, in conjunction with city block level location based on IP address.
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