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25 March 2020 12:32

Covid Symptom Tracker

UK app launched to track coronavirus and help limit its spread

A symptom tracker app that has been designed to identify the spread of coronavirus has been launched in the UK. The Covid Symptom Tracker asks users to fill in data including age, sex and postcode as well as questions on existing medical conditions. Read more: Coronavirus may have infected half of UK population, according to experts The app is a collaboration between researchers at King's College London, health data science company Zoe – itself a spin-out from King's – and Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals. It asks participants to take a minute a day to self-report even if they are healthy. The aim is to help researchers identify how fast the virus is spreading, the high-risk areas in the country, and who is most at risk by better understanding symptoms linked to underlying health conditions.

While the symptom tracker app is available to the general public, around 5,000 twins and their families across the UK have been recruited to trial the app, which tracks in real-time how Covid-19 progresses. King's College said it had picked twins for the study as it will enable researchers to separate the effects of genes from environmental factors. Should the participants show symptoms of coronavirus, they will be sent a kit so they can be tested for the disease. Read more: Over 170,000 join NHS volunteer force to fight coronavirus Professor Tim Spector, who is leading the project, said: "These are worrying times for everyone. "The more of the public that also use the app, the better the real-time data we will have to combat the outbreak in this country." If you'd like to feel that you're doing more in the battle against the coronavirus than self-isolating with Animal Crossing, then it's worth checking out the new Covid-19 tracking app aimed at helping scientists track the disease.

Developed by researchers at King's College London along with Guy's and St Thomas's hospitals, the Covid Symptom Tracker app will apparently help scientists identify high-risk areas and track how fast the virus is spreading. The free app is keen to stress that it doesn't offer health advice, instead giving you the opportunity to do a daily one-minute self-report, even if you're healthy and have no symptoms. Available for iOS and Android, the app asks you for some basic information like age and postcode, and also whether you have any existing medical conditions like diabetes and asthma. This will apparently also help the researchers discover who is most as risk from coronavirus too. In the app's sign-up process it says that "no information you share will be used for commercial purposes", although the data will be available to King's College London, Guys and St Thomas' Hospitals and Zoe Global Limited (a health technology company that co-developed the app) and may also be shared with the NHS.

(Image credit: Future) A word of warning: in our time with the Covid Symptom Tracker app so far, it's proved quite buggy and it was initially tricky to create an account. This may be down to the large number of initial signups – it apparently already has 200,000 users already – so the kinks will hopefully be ironed out soon with an update. It's also good to see the app join a range of other tech-based projects that have been designed to help with fight against the coronavirus, including [email protected] (which uses your spare computing horsepower to help scientists) and Google's coronavirus information hub. To download the Covid Symptom Tracker app, head to these download links for Android and iOS. UK app launched to track coronavirus and help limit its spread A new app could help scientists understand coronavirus.

The new Covid Symptom Tracker app aims to help stop coronavirus' spread. As coronavirus continues to dominate the headlines, now UK researchers have launched a new app to help track the spread of Covid-19. The free Covid Symptom Tracker app asks users to fill in personal data including age, sex as well as information on any existing medical conditions. You can find the latest Coronavirus (Covid-19) advice from the NHS here. Users will then be asked to take one minute a day to report on whether they feel healthy.

If not, they will answer questions on a wide range of symptoms associated with coronavirus, including coughs, fever, fatigue, diarrhoea and confusion. A new app will track coronavirus. Picture: Getty Images It's hoped that the app - which is a collaboration between researchers at King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals - will provide real-time information on how the disease is spreading in the UK. Read More: Government calls for 250,000 NHS volunteers to help with coronavirus battle Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King's College London, said: "The concept is it is an early warning radar device because we are asking about non-classical symptoms as well, because many people are reporting non-persistent cough, or feeling unwell or a strange feeling of a lack of taste, or chest tightness that aren't in the classical list but if we see it across the country in clusters we know they are probably real [symptoms of Covid-19]." He continued: "Speaking to clinicians in the hospital, especially in the elderly you get very different symptoms to the young so this idea there is only two types of symptoms – fever and long-term cough – is wrong. While the app is available to the general public, the team has started asking 5'000 twins and their families to use the app. If they show the virus' symptoms, they will be sent a testing kit. Tim this should shed light on the disease's geographic movement, as he added: "The immediate thing is we will get known clusters of disease at different levels of severity all over the country and we will know what is going on." Read More: Coronavirus UK lockdown: When can I leave the house and what for? Click 'I agree' to allow Verizon Media and our partners to use cookies and similar technologies to access your device and use your data (including location) to understand your interests, and provide and measure personalised ads. We will also provide you with personalised ads on partner products. Learn more about how we use your data in our Privacy Centre. Once you confirm your privacy choices here, you can make changes at any time by visiting your Privacy dashboard. Click 'Learn more' to learn and customise how Verizon Media and our partners collect and use data. King's College London has launched a new app which tracks symptoms related to COVID-19, allowing anyone to self-report daily. Around 5,000 twins and their families across the U.K. have been recruited from the TwinsUK cohort study to trial the app, which tracks in real time how the disease progresses. The aim of the app is to help slow the outbreak, by helping researchers identify how fast the virus is spreading in your area; high-risk areas in the country; and who is most at risk, by better understanding symptoms linked to underlying health conditions Twins using the app will record information about their health on a daily basis, including temperature, tiredness and symptoms such as coughing, breathing problems or headaches. Any participants showing signs of COVID-19 will be sent a home testing kit to better understand what symptoms truly correspond to the coronavirus infection. Researchers believe this is clinically urgent given the current limits on testing. The app will be also available to the general public without the home testing component of the study. Comparing genetically identical twins with non-identical twins, who are as related as regular siblings, will enable researchers to separate the effects of genes from environmental factors such as diet, lifestyle, previous illnesses and infections, and the microbes within the gut (microbiome). Samples taken from the twin group will be used to generate a biobank for use in future research projects investigating infection and immune responses. Researchers believe that the data from the study will reveal important information about the symptoms and progress of the COVID-19 infection in different people, and why some go on to develop more severe or fatal disease while others have only mild symptoms. They also say it will help the urgent clinical need to distinguish mild coronavirus symptoms from seasonal coughs and colds, which may be leading people to unnecessarily self-isolate when they aren't infected or inadvertently go out and spread the disease when they are. Led by Professor Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King's, TwinsUK is a scientific study of 15,000 identical and non-identical twins, which has been running for nearly three decades. At least 5,000 members of the existing twin cohort and their families are expected to sign up for this new study. The free monitoring app has been developed as a partnership between researchers at King's and health data science company ZOE – itself a spin-out from King's – and will be widely available to health staff and the general public who wish to contribute to this research. It will also be used by other large population studies in the U.K. and U.S. Professor Tim Spector said: "These are worrying times for everyone. Our twins are fantastically committed, enthusiastic health research participants who have already been studied in unprecedented detail, putting us in a unique position to provide vital answers to support the global fight against COVID-19. The more of the public that also use the app, the better the real-time data we will have to combat the outbreak in this country." The TwinsUK COVID-19 research study is funded by King's College London, ZOE Global Ltd, the CDRF charity, and the National Institute of Health Research Guy's and St Thomas' Biomedical Research Centre. Any data gathered from the app and study will be used strictly for public health or academic research and will not be used commercially or sold. Read more at King's College London