NUI Galway, University of Limerick, INSIGHT SFI Centre for Data Analytics and Orreco have collaborated to produce which tracks the spread of COVID-19 symptoms in Ireland, it has been revealed. is a free COVID-19 symptom logging website that will be used as a tool to quickly and easily track the spread of COVID-19 in Ireland by gathering anonymous symptom data.

Data-driven decisions

This means that researchers can more accurately estimate the prevalence of COVID-19 infections and help authorities make timely, data-driven decisions about protective measures. Coronavirus Symptom Checker aims to gather information about the clinical presentation of COVID-19.

This system is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease but rather a collection of clinical symptoms in the context of COVID-19.

All data captured is anonymous and there is no way for it to be connected back to an individual. The aggregate anonymous data will be provided to the Irish health authorities to help with their planning and will be used in research by NUI Galway and University of Limerick to help prevent and mitigate future pandemics.

Professor Derek O’Keeffe, consultant physician, University Hospital Galway, and professor of medical device technology at NUI Galway, is leading the research.

Innovative software solution

Prof O’Keeffe developed the innovative software solution with INSIGHT SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics (Dr Andrew Simpkin, Marc Mellotte, Carlos Tighe) and collaborators Dr Kevin Johnson, University of Limerick, and Gearóid Hynes, Conor Maguire and Kevin McGinley of Orreco, with graphic design by Eamon Whyte.

Prof O’Keeffe said: “To defeat your enemy you must know where it is and the data from and COVID-19 testing allows us to do this. Clinically it is important to know where COVID-19 is in the community, so that we can plan accordingly and learn more about the disease.

"Globally other leading academic institutions, such as Harvard University, USA and Kings College London, have also seen the importance of this kind of research and developed country specific solutions. We expect that the Irish knowledge that we learn from this will help us all fight COVID-19 both now and in the future.”

Head start in testing

Dr Simpkin said: " is an opportunity for citizen scientists to help us fight back against COVID-19. Having a geographical and temporal picture of symptoms will allow us to answer critical research questions and give the health services a head start in testing. "

Dr Hynes, Orreco, said: “There is a lot to be learned about COVID-19, such as how it spreads in the community and the prevalence of symptoms within the Irish population. By providing a simple mechanism for people in Ireland to record their symptoms helps address this knowledge gap and we at Orreco are honoured to help this initiative with our data science and software development expertise.“

Dr Johnson, University of Limerick, said:  “COVID-19 is a global problem, we need innovative solutions. Everyone has to part to play with their different skills and that’s what my colleagues and I have done by helping to develop”

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