Fitbit plans to initiate a prospective study with Northwell Health to help validate its algorithm for early COVID-19 detection
Fitbit Fitbit announced it has been selected by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) to receive nearly $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Defense through a Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) award to advance development of a wearable diagnostic capability for the early detection of a COVID-19 infection. As part of the award, Fitbit is working to initiate a prospective study with Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research to validate a Fitbit COVID-19 early detection algorithm.
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“The Department of Defense seeks rapid, accurate wearable solutions to identify and isolate pre-symptomatic COVID-19 cases and help track and prevent the spread of the virus. To address this need, our proposal selection process sought mature solutions that could be rapidly and widely deployed”
The award is part of MTEC’s efforts to help keep military personnel healthy and fully operational. Because carriers of COVID-19 can be contagious without symptoms, detecting the virus before symptoms emerge is key to slowing its spread. Fitbit was selected by USAMRDC based on the Company’s track record of innovation and the initial success of its COVID-19 research, specifically the role of wearable technology in early illness detection, as well as the ease of use and long battery life of Fitbit’s devices.
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“We believe Fitbit is uniquely positioned to deliver on USAMRDC’s goals based on our deep wearables expertise and established user base of nearly 30 million users, our early research in machine learning algorithms for detection of presymptomatic COVID-19, and our production and manufacturing capabilities to scale solutions and make them available quickly,” said Amy McDonough, GM and SVP of Fitbit Health Solutions. “Our research shows that our bodies start to fight the disease before more visible symptoms appear and we believe Fitbit can reliably detect these signals, giving us an incredible opportunity to get ahead of this virus and help alert people that they could be sick before they unknowingly spread it to others. This award will help advance this important research.”
In connection with the award, Fitbit is working to initiate a prospective study with Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. Northwell Health is the largest healthcare provider and private employer in New York State. We believe this collaboration will help expedite the development and validation of the Fitbit algorithm to detect COVID-19. As part of the prospective study, the parties plan to distribute several thousand Fitbit devices to Northwell Health employees, who will receive notifications of potential illness, as well as COVID-19 testing to assess and verify the results.