DURHAM, NC — Duke University Professors Dr. Jessilyn Dunn and Dr. Ryan Shaw launched a research project earlier this month they call “Covidentify.”

They're studying sleep patterns, oxygen levels, activity and heart rate to determine early symptoms of COVID-19. 

  • Colleges and companies across the globe are working to come up with faster and more reliable tests for COVID-19. 
  • Thousands of people may have a potential detection system with smartwatches and smartphones
  • Covidentify will be available on the Apple platform in coming weeks 

“We can actually pair to any wearable device that somebody has that pairs with the iPhone. So we can pair the information we learned from the surveys with the wearable sensor data. And ideally, our goal is to be able to learn how to detect COVID-19 early and, in particularly, in vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Dunn. 

Once a day for a month, participants wear a Fitbit and take a daily survey asking people working away from home who they came in contact and if they feel sick. 

“We do hope that the knowledge that we do discover will be translatable into healthcare and that it can eventually be used to really improve health outcomes and to reduce health disparities,” said Dr. Shaw. 

Researchers say the app isn't a replacement for taking your temperature or a mouth swab test to detect the illness, but they say the watch sensors and EKG options are evolving and maturing over time. 

Doctors Dunn and Shaw say they're hopeful the Covidentify app, which will be released in coming weeks on the Apple platform, will be yet another digital tool in the fight against COVID-19. 

“What we collect from that app, we can also collect though other means. So we have an email version of our survey, a text message version of our survey. If you have a Fitbit or Garmin watch you can actually connect that app online through a website,” said Dr. Dunn. 

You can be part of the solution to COVID-19 by heading over to the Covidentify website