Irish researchers launch Covid-19 symptom tracker

9 Apr 20202.1k Views

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Through the new platform, people living in Ireland can anonymously log any Covid-19 symptoms they are experiencing to provide researchers with data.

Researchers from NUI Galway, University of Limerick, the SFI Insight Centre for Data Analytics and data start-up Orreco have launched MyCovidSymptoms.ie.

The platform enables people in Ireland to anonymously log any symptoms of Covid-19 they are experiencing, with the goal of tracking the spread of the virus around Ireland.

The system is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat the virus, but rather to collect clinical symptoms in the context of Covid-19.

By getting individuals to log symptoms, the researchers said they could more accurately estimate the prevalence of Covid-19 infections and help authorities make timely, data-driven decisions about protective measures.

The aggregate data will be used in research by NUI Galway and University of Limerick to help prevent and mitigate future pandemics.

The team behind the research

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Prof Derek O’Keeffe, consultant physician at University Hospital Galway and specialist in medical device technology at NUI Galway, is leading the research.

He developed the software with Dr Andrew Simpkin, Marc Mellotte and Carlos Tighe from Insight. Other collaborators include Dr Kevin Johnson from University of Limerick, and Gearóid Hynes, Conor Maguire and Kevin McGinley of data science start-up Orreco. Graphic design for the project was handled by Eamon Whyte.

“To defeat your enemy, you must know where it is and the data from MyCovidSymptoms.ie and Covid-19 testing allows us to do this,” O’Keeffe said.

“Clinically, it is important to know where Covid-19 is in the community, so that we can plan accordingly and learn more about the disease. Globally, other leading academic institutions such as Harvard University and King’s College London have also seen the importance of this kind of research and developed country-specific solutions.”

Simpkin added that the platform provides an opportunity for citizen scientists to help Insight and third-level institutions in Ireland to fight back against Covid-19. “Having a clear geographical and temporal picture of symptoms will allow us to answer critical research questions and give the health services a head start in testing,” he said.

Last month, O’Keeffe and Johnson also launched a new website to help track donations of medical and protective equipment.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com