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Join the world’s largest Covid19 study

Published on 27 April 2020 04:30 PM

Age UK Bristol, alongside Age UK national and a collaboration of UK health-based charities has joined an initiative with The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to promote a Covid19 Symptom Tracker app.

The Covid19 Symptom Tracker is an app (a progamme that runs on a mobile or tablet device) that people can use to measure their health. The data from the app is then used in a study on covid19. Anyone can join the study by downloading the simple, free COVID Symptom Tracker app from covid.joinzoe.com and answering a few questions about their health and medications. Participants then spend a minute checking in every day, whether they are feeling physically healthy or experiencing any new symptoms.

More than 2.5 million participants have downloaded the app and are using it to regularly report on their health, making it the largest public science project of its kind anywhere in the world.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said, “For both now and the future it's crucial that we understand in as much detail as possible the impact of this virus on older people and the fact this initiative can provide valuable new insights is potentially very exciting and  it's one we are pleased to support."

Over-70s and those who have pre-existing health conditions appear to be most at risk from the effects of COVID-19, yet are significantly under-represented in the group of people currently providing data through the app. However, early analysis shows that the illness may start with different symptoms in these groups, such as diarrhoea and confusion, rather than the classic cough and fever.

One of the biggest barriers the app has faced has been recruiting people with pre-existing health conditions and people aged over 70 to measure these early symptoms. Many in this group either don’t have the technology to download the app, or don’t feel confident using this technology. Therefore, the developers have updated the tracker to allow family, friends or carers to log daily health reports on behalf of anyone who wishes to take part in the study.

We at Age UK Bristol would like to encourage people, especially those aged 70+ or living with a pre-existing health condition, to download the app and to log their health updates, or to ask a loved one to do so on their behalf which will help build an accurate picture of how coronavirus affects us all.