Northwell Health's Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and Fitbit on Thursday announced they are collaborating on a study to validate Fitbit's COVID-19 early detection algorithm.
The study is supported by a $2.5 million award from the U.S. Department of Defense through the medical technology enterprise consortium. The award is part of the consortium's efforts to keep military personnel healthy by detecting the virus before symptoms emerge.
San Francisco-based Fitbit, which manufactures wearable devices focused on tracking health and wellness metrics, had developed an algorithm to detect breathing rate, resting heart rate and other factors. It was originally meant to alert wearers to signs of a flu infection but was later adapted for COVID-19. However, the algorithm was studied only in a retrospective setting earlier this year, and there was a need for a prospective study to validate it in a real-world setting, said Taylor Helgren, vice president of product and strategy at Fitbit.