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UW Medicine testing app designed to predict next major outbreak

A new app being tested by UW Medicine hopes to be able to predict the next major outbreak, as well as preventing people from returning to work while still sick.

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The app will roll out to 25,000 people nationwide, and will collection information from those participants over a two-year period. People will participate for 12 weeks at a time, recording daily symptoms, physical activity, sleep patterns, and more.

The hope is that with this self-reported data, it will become easier to track and trace the spread of a virus as it’s spreading in real time sans in-person testing, and ultimately, get ahead of it enough to adequately prepare for a full-scale outbreak.

“This is a huge opportunity for us to get a sense as to whether or not phones could basically become a personal screener for an illness without having to go to a drive-in screening clinic or to a hospital to figure out if a pandemic is blooming,” said UW Medicine Professor Patricia Areàn.

Despite the many resources devoted to controlling the nation’s current outbreak, Areàn points out that “it’s actually a really useful time for us to collect information.” That makes it so more testing can be run in the fall and winter months.

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Participants must have an Android or iOS smartphone, and be over the age of 19. They will have the chance to earn “up to $90” for their role in testing the app, while all personal data will be encrypted and anonymous.

You can fill out this form if you’re interested in enrolling.

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