Can an app help in tracking symptoms of long Covid? Elizabeth Tracey reports

April 19, 2021

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A cell phone app used in the UK has helped researchers track many of the symptoms of the syndrome known as ‘long Covid.’ Brian Garibaldi, a critical care medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says this data provides just one part of an emerging picture.

Garibaldi: NIH has clearly identified this appropriately as an important issue to tackle, and I think we really do need these longitudinal studies to better unpack what these symptoms are because a lot of what we’re seeing are self-described symptoms like in the study that came out of the UK looking at a cell phone based app tracking symptoms and showing that up to a third of people are having symptoms 28 days later particularly if they’ve been hospitalized. Those are important data but there are limitations to how far you can take that because those are people who have self-selected to continue putting their symptoms in the app before they got Covid and after they got sick.  :30

Garibaldi says more inclusive studies including those who don’t opt in to cell phone tracking are needed, and will point the way to interventions to help. He notes that a close look at many viral illnesses reveals persistent symptoms. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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