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Covid-19 Symptom Tracker

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Wondering what you can do to help scientists currently researching Covid-19?

Well it’s as easy as downloading an app!

Doctors and researchers at King’s College London have created the COVID symptom tracker app. The app aims to compile information on symptoms experienced by individuals across the UK, and soon the US, in order to better understand the symptoms of the Covid-19 disease.

All you need to do is download the app (on IOS or Android) , and each day self-report any symptoms you may be feeling. These range from persistent cough and fatigue, to abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Additionally, they are asking people to report on loss of smell and taste, and hoarse voices.

It only takes one minute each day and is incredibly useful in the study of this disease. 1.5 million people have already downloaded the app!

What have the team already learnt?

The team have already created maps of the prevalence of common symptoms of Covid-19 across the UK, like the one below of Fever.

A key finding from the data has been the prevalence of anosmia (the loss of smell). The map below shows the prevalence of anosmia as reported to the app by 29/03/20.

Anosmia has been reported in 18% of people who have reported to have been feeling unwell. It is not yet clear how many of these patients are sufferers of the Covid-19 virus, as currently the UK government is only testing patients in hospitals. Only a very small percentage of app users reported attending hospital.

Lead researcher Prof Tim Spector said:

“When combined with other symptoms, people with loss of smell and taste appear to be three times more likely to have contracted Covid-19 according to our data, and should therefore self-isolate for seven days to reduce the spread of the disease.”

The BBC has taken up this story, and will continue to report on the data coming from the study.

Want to know more?

The team have released a Webinar including interviews with Tim Spector and Claire Steves from King’s. You can watch below.

Last week I took part in the first #MedStudentCOVID Twitter chat. You can read more about that here.

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Connor is a medical student at King’s College London. For the 19/20 academic year he is undertaking an intercalated iBSc in Imaging Sciences, also at King’s.

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