Fitbit continues efforts to detect COVID-19 early via wearables with $2.5m US Army award, strengthens market position, says GlobalData

Following the recent news that Fitbit has received an award from the US Army to continue development of early COVID-19 diagnostic capabilities in its wearables;

Dominic Tong, Medical Device Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“The health tracking capabilities of wearables have expanded at a remarkable pace, and the pandemic has provided the perfect environment for advanced health software solutions to develop. GlobalData currently expects the wearables market to grow by 137% to a value of $64bn in 2024. Continued progress on their health tracking capabilities may make them an integral part of the future healthcare environment, accelerating market growth. Fitbit is expected to remain a major player in this market for the foreseeable future.

With the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of slowing, efforts to detect cases earlier and slow the spread of the disease remain a top priority. A potential solution lies in using the variety of health sensors in current wearables such as the Apple Watch Series 6 or Samsung Watch3 to detect COVID-19 cases earlier. Fitbit, among other players, has been developing an algorithm that it hopes can use measures such as breathing rate and heart rate collected by its Sense wearable to detect COVID-19 cases prior to symptom onset. While studies to determine the effectiveness of this algorithm are ongoing, early results are promising, and will be bolstered by a newly received $2.5m award from the US Army Medical Research and Development Command.”

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