Doctors and medical professionals have started using smart rings that can help in the early detection of COVID-19 in a bid to combat the spread of the deadly virus that has claimed more than 16,500 lives and infected over 3,80,000 people around the world.

Doctors using smart rings to detect COVID-19

Startups continue to find innovative ways to help out with ongoing efforts to contain the global spread of COVID-19, and personal health hardware-maker Oura is no exception. Thousands of medical professionals in San Francisco are using the tech startup's smart rings to track temperatures and other vitals that indicate the onset of COVID-19.

Oura smart rings
Oura

Oura and researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) will then use this data to develop an algorithm that can help them predict the diagnosis of infected patients early and curb the spread of the virus. Staff at UCSF Medical Center and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital are also wearing the devices and Oura has asked 150,000 other users to share their data with them.

How will it work?

Oura's smart rings monitor a user's body temperature constantly, in addition to their sleeping patterns, heart rate and activity levels. They're like fitness trackers but instead of wearing it on your wrist, you wear them around your finger.

Fever is a common and early symptoms that could indicate the onset of COVID-19, and a continuous tracking of one's body temperature can help detect fever early. While it's not enough to confirm whether an individual is infected with coronavirus, the purpose of this study is to develop an algorithm that uses readings from Oura's rings along with other signals to help with early detection of the virus.

Monitoring body temperature

Coronavirus
A thermal screening being carried out on the passengers arriving from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, at the IGI airport in New Delhi on Feb 2, 2020. National carrier Air India's second special flight to Wuhan, landed at the IGI airport here on Sunday with 323 Indian and seven Maldivian citizens onboard. (Photo: IANS) IANS

One of the strategies that worked for authorities in Wuhan, the first epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, was to have its habitants report their temperatures on a daily basis and isolate themselves at the first sign of fever or high temperature.

This ring could allow users to do the same and has already proven to be useful to a Finnish businessman who noticed a surge in his body temperature (about 100.4 Fahrenheit) and later tested positive for COVID-19. The man later took to Facebook to share his story and said that he would not have known about the fever had it not been for Oura's smart ring.