ADR Wales partner SAIL Databank to support new Covid-19 symptom tracking app

​The project is a collaboration between Swansea University's SAIL Databank, King's College London, health technology company ZOE, and BREATHE (the Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health), and is supported by Health Data Research UK (HDR UK).

Developed by researchers at King's College London and ZOE, the Covid-19 monitoring app has already been downloaded by nearly 2 million 'stay-at-home scientists' across the UK who are using it to track their daily health and any potential coronavirus symptoms. The app is also widely being used by healthcare and hospital workers.

The app acts like an early-warning radar system, providing vital information about the symptoms and spread of Covid-19. In turn, this supports the effective deployment of limited NHS resources such as healthcare personnel, testing kits or ventilators to where they are most likely to be needed.

Regular downloads of anonymised data from the app will be securely delivered through BREATHE into the SAIL databank, making it accessible to NHS decision-makers and academic researchers. This also means that information from the app can be linked together with other Covid-19 datasets generated by the NHS digital transformation unit, NHSX, and others.

The research team at King's College London are continually analysing the data to generate new insights about the disease and its progression. For example, they have discovered that loss of smell or taste are more likely to be an early symptom of Covid-19 than fever. Frequent science updates and maps showing the top-level geographical distribution of symptoms around the UK are available on the ZOE website.

Welsh Government and NHS Wales are encouraging Welsh residents to use the app in an effort to help the NHS shape its response to the coronavirus outbreak in the region.

Lead research Professor Tim Spector from King's College London, said: "Accurate real-time data is essential if we are to beat this disease. We would like to thank every single person who is already participating, and would urge everyone to download the app and check in every day, whether you are experiencing any symptoms or feeling fine."

Professor David Ford from SAIL Databank at Swansea University Medical School, said: "SAIL Databank has been providing researchers from the NHS, government and Universities secure, responsible access to data for over a decade. We are proud to be involved in this project, which has collected extremely important data to help us all understand the bewildering range of symptoms associated with this awful virus. Through this, and many parallel initiatives, SAIL is doing whatever it can to make data work hard to address the challenges of Covid-10."

Read the full statement on BREATHE's involvement in the Covid-19 Symptom Tracker app, developed by King's College London and ZOE.

This was originally published on the Population Data Science website.

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