Empatica and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority are joining forces to bring wearables to COVID-19 detection.
The two will work together to validate Aura, a system that will alert individuals when it detects a likely SARS-CoV-2 infection. Aura will use Empatica’s medical smartwatches, software, and artificial intelligence capabilities.
In February 2019, Empatica and BARDA's Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIVe) began to develop a digital biomarker that predicts respiratory infections. Preliminary findings have been promising, showing a strong correlation between viral shedding and changes in a person's physiology. Now Empatica will be sponsored to run a validation trial specific to early detection of COVID-19.
The aim is to validate Empatica's algorithm in real-life settings, with the participation of healthcare workers who are exposed to a high viral load while treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients. They will wear the E4, Empatica's medical-grade research wearable wristband, for 30 days, and their physiological data will be reviewed against daily nasopharyngeal (NP) samples and a daily qRT-PCR swab, ensuring the highest ground truth.
In a release, Empatica CEO Matteo Lai, said, "We are very proud to join forces with BARDA to help improve the health and safety of millions of Americans going back to work. This product introduces a new paradigm: empowering individuals and institutions with smart health monitoring so that they will know early when they need to self-isolate and take care of themselves. Without BARDA's leadership and foresight over the past year, our early detection algorithm would not have reached this pivotal stage of clinical validation, which will accelerate our request for FDA's approval of Aura as a medical product for use by people at risk of contracting COVID-19."