Our research in Science Magazine

May 15, 2020

Key COVID Symptom Study findings published in top scientific journal

Our COVID Symptom Study app was developed by a consortium of scientists with the goal of collecting information to help healthcare workers, researchers, and public officials to address the COVID-19 viral outbreak. This initiative, led by Professor Tim Spector in the UK and Dr. Andy Chan in the US, was just covered by the journal Science. In the paper, we report that the app has been used by more than 2.8 million people as of May 2nd, 2020.

COVID Symptom Study use, reported symptoms, and testing results according to geographic location in the United Kingdom.

Between March 24 and March 29, 2020, more than 1.6 million unique individuals downloaded the application and shared clinical and demographic information, as well daily symptoms and high-intensity occupational exposures across the United Kingdom. This example of real-time visualisation of data captured by the COVID Symptom Study may assist public health and government officials in reallocating resources, identifying areas with unmet testing needs, and detect emerging hot spots earlier. 

Working with our multinational collaboration, the Coronavirus Pandemic Epidemiology (COPE) Consortium, we have been able to collect information on the population dynamics of the disease. The consortium is made up of leading investigators from several large clinical and epidemiological cohort studies, and through it, we are able provide insight on COVID-19 infection rates in a diverse patient population.

"The app collects daily information from individuals in the community about whether they feel well, and if not, their specific symptoms and if they have been tested for COVID-19," says Andy. “This work has led to the development of accurate models of COVID-19infection rates in the absence of sufficient population testing.”

The app also allows us to explore risk factors for infection, as well as the effects of COVID-19 on patients' health. The app allows users to voluntarily share their data in a safeguarded way because it does not have any contact tracing function. We urge individuals, even those who are not experiencing symptoms, to download the app and participate in this study by logging in each day, because the data will only be stronger with more participation.

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