Liechtenstein will put fertility monitoring bracelets on some 2,200 people to see if they can pick up early signs of coronavirus, the managers of the experiment said on Sunday.
If successful, the project will give doctors a better chance of dealing with the virus spread, by isolating patients, giving targeted support and also protecting healthcare workers, they said.
“The aim is to see whether a sensory bracelet, which is already successfully being used to monitor women’s fertility cycles, can detect COVID-19 infection early,” the Dr Risch Group laboratory and its partner, the Swiss start-up AVA which developed the technology, said in a statement.
The bracelets allow women to identify the best time to conceive by monitoring five indicators during sleep - skin temperature, resting pulse rate, bloodflow, breathing rate and heart rate variability.
This same data, the companies said, can also be analysed to fight the coronavirus.
“The underlying hypothesis is that this will allow the creation of a new algorithm that enables identification of COVID-19 at an early stage even when no typical disease symptoms are present,” the statement said.
Doctors and scientists are racing to learn as much as possible about the new coronavirus and have already established several common symptoms - notably high fever, dry cough and difficulty in breathing.
However they also say that there is much still to be learned and that the virus can affect people in many different and unexpected ways.
The study, which aims to report later this year, is being financed by Liechtenstein’s royal house, private funds and the government of the small principality.