WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute announces capability to predict COVID-19 related symptoms up to three days in advance

MORGANTOWN, W.VA. – The West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI) and WVU Medicine, in conjunction with Oura Health, have addressed a major concern regarding the spread of COVID-19. The RNI has created a digital platform that can detect COVID-19 related symptoms up to three days before they show up.

One of the obstacles in fighting COVID-19 is that asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus before they realize they are infected.

“The holistic and integrated neuroscience platform developed by the RNI continuously monitors the human operating system, which allows for the accurate prediction of the onset of viral infection symptoms associated with COVID-19,” Ali Rezai, M.D., executive chair of the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, said. “We feel this platform will be integral to protecting our healthcare workers, first responders, and communities as we adjust to life in the COVID-19 era.”

The RNI platform uses the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute app, the Oura Ring, and artificial intelligence (AI)guided models to forecast and predict the onset of COVID-19 related symptoms (e.g. fevers, coughing, breathing difficulties, fatigue, and others) three days in advance with over 90 percent accuracy. This technology can potentially serve as a critical decision making tool to help contain the spread of the virus, safely re-open communities, strengthen the economy, and facilitate public health containment strategies. 

The neuroscience-based study monitors individuals holistically – integrating physiologic measures with psychological, cognitive, and behavioral biometrics. Participants use the RNI’s mobile app to track indicators such as stress, anxiety, memory, and other human resilience and recovery functions. Physiological data, such as the onset of increased body temperature, heart rate variability, resting heart rate, respiratory rate, sleep and activity patterns, and “readiness” – a health metric combining long-term sleep and activity trends with short-term behaviors – is monitored through the Oura Ring. 
The first phase of this study was launched in collaboration with Oura Health and is currently deployed in more than 600 healthcare professionals and first responders. The RNI is working with national partners at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and other institutions across West Virginia, New York City, and California, and plans to quickly scale this effort to more than 10,000 participants.

This early result represents an advancement in public health, leveraging readily available wearable devices with AI-guided models that can provide timely insights to drive health and wellness decisions. This 24/7 non-intrusive, secure, and safe monitoring capability allows for the RNI team to predict the onset of symptoms and recovery.

“We are hopeful that Oura’s technology will advance how people identify and understand our body’s most nuanced physiological signals and warning signs, as they relate to infectious diseases like COVID-19,” Harpreet Rai, CEO of Oura Health, said. “Partnering with the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute on this important study helps fulfill Oura’s vision of offering data for the public good and empowering individuals with the personal insights needed to lead healthier lives.”  

In addition to the RNI platform’s ability to forecast symptoms, the research team is now initiating the next phase of its study by showing the location of reported symptoms. In this regard, the RNI app is now available for the general public by visiting WVUMedicine.org/RNI/COVID19

About the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute
We are improving lives by pioneering advances in brain health. With the latest technologies, an ecosystem of partners, and an integrated approach, we are making tangible progress. Our goal is to combat public health challenges ranging from addiction to Alzheimer’s and beyond. Learn more about the RNI’s first-in-the-world clinical trials and the top caliber experts joining us in our mission. For more information, visit WVUMedicine.org/RNI.