Not all coughs are created equal.
A smartphone app is being developed in hopes of being able to detect when a cough is due to coronavirus and not just one associated with the common cold.
The way it would work is that selected applicants would upload their cough into the software so its characteristics can be analyzed for volume, duration and frequency. Users would then be monitored by answering questions about their health on a weekly basis.
By combining the sound data with the health information, researchers hope to be able to determine if a coronavirus cough is different from those associated with an upper respiratory infection, allergies or inhaling dust.
If the software is successful in recognizing a coronavirus-related cough, the user would get an alert letting them know their coughing is showing signs of the more serious illness.
To address privacy concerns, the researchers said the data would be secure and the app won’t monitor other people or run in the background.
“We haven’t turned on any contact tracing or GPS at this stage to encourage users to participate without worrying about excess threats to privacy,” said Dr. Daniel Karlin, a physician at Montefiore Medical Center in New York and CEO of HealthMode.
The health company is currently looking for volunteers to help the clinical course of COVID-19 research, especially as New York continues to be the epicenter of the virus in the United States.
“Seeing New York City the way it is, everyone is asking, ‘Is there something we can do?’” Karlin added. “This is something we can do.”
As of Thursday, there have been over 667,000 positive cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with at least 32,868 deaths, according to CNN.