Detect corona virus from this mobile app- (Corona Mobile detector)
Coronavirus: App to stop spreading the pathogen
At the end of December 2019, first cases of pneumonia caused by a new type of coronavirus were reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Since then, illnesses with the pathogen have occurred on several continents. Strict disease control measures are designed to stop further spread.
The SORMAS (Surveillance, Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System) app developed at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig is now making a contribution to this. The Braunschweig researchers have expanded the mobile information system for disease monitoring with a module to combat the coronavirus epidemic.
The new corona virus module is ready for use in Nigeria and Ghana, where SORMAS is already in use. It can be implemented in any other country that SORMAS would like to use in the future.
Scientists in the “Epidemiology” department at the HZI under the direction of Prof. Gérard Krause have developed the SORMAS mobile information system together with German and international partners . The system is operated as an app on mobile phones and is particularly suitable for use in regions with poor infrastructure. With the help of SORMAS, data on the outbreak can be recorded locally and transmitted to health authorities. This enables the authorities to make risk assessments and coordinate measures to combat epidemics.
“The current epidemic shows how urgently detailed data is needed for risk assessment and also how great is the need for a structured management of containment measures,” says Krause. A systematic overview recently showed that the integration of these two functions is a unique selling point of SORMAS compared to other eHealth tools in this area.
With the new corona virus module, the application can be used for 20 different infectious diseases – including Ebola, lasso fever, monkey pox, avian flu, dengue fever, yellow fever, measles, meningitis, plague, cholera, rabies and anthrax. SORMAS has already been successfully used to combat three major outbreaks in Nigeria and is now also operating in Ghana.
“Thanks to SORMAS ‘flexible’ building block concept ‘, we were able to activate the specific coronavirus module within a few days,” says virologist Dr. Juliane Dörrbecker, who headed the design of the new SORMAS module. The Coronavirus module allows early detection of individual cases, even in remote regions, to document clinical details and laboratory confirmations, to prospectively accompany all contact persons and to offer therapy at an early stage – in the event that they also become ill. SORMAS controls these processes and at the same time generates well-validated data in real time for ongoing risk assessment at national and international levels.
Ask for a lot of data
Since the Covid-19 triggered by the novel coronavirus is a respiratory disease, the tones produced by those affected are very specific. “According to doctors, one of the most common things they see in patients with the virus is how they gasp when they talk, a dry cough, and the intervals between their breathing patterns,” explains Cecilia Mascolo of Cambridge Department of Computer Science and Technology. The professor and her team received a grant from the European Research Council of almost 2.5 million euros for the development of the app .
“There are very few large data sets of breath sounds,” says Mascolo . Therefore, she asks for data donations. “For better algorithms that could be used for early detection, we need as many samples from as many participants as possible.” Even if there are no corona cases, the readings may also help to identify links to other complaints. The research goal of the project, which started in October 2019 and will run until 2024, relates generally to the diagnosis of respiratory diseases.
Users of the Covid-19 Sounds app also ask the researchers to provide them with demographic and medical information. The application also performs a rough location once when users have generally released location data. The information should only be stored on servers of the University of Cambridge and used only for research purposes. Users will not be able to receive medical advice via the app.
Much is still unknown about the virus
The further roadmap stipulates that the development team will first carry out an initial analysis of the information collected and then release the data set to other researchers. This should help to better understand the course of the disease and possible complications, for example based on the patient file and previous illnesses. “There is still so much we don’t know about this virus and the disease it causes,” said Mascolo. “In a pandemic situation like the current one, it helps to get as much reliable information as possible.”
The app is currently available for Android phones in the Google Play Store, a version for iOS will follow shortly with several other supported languages. The study was approved by the ethics committee of the university’s faculty of computer science and technology.