Researchers in the UK and America are launching a COVID-19 tracking device.
The app is the result of a collaboration between a team led by Professor Tim Spector at Kings College London and a science company called ZOE.
To draw the right conclusions scientists rely on users of the app giving accurate information.
The primary purpose is disease research which is why the app itself is free. ZOE of which Spector is a co-founder says the staff it's dedicated to the project are working at no cost to the public.
Artificial intelligence is being used to start looking for patterns and pathways which will allow scientists a more detailed understanding of who is most at risk from the COVID-19 pandemic and why.
Researchers aren’t just interested in responses from people displaying symptoms of the virus, they want to track as many people as possible over a period of time.
Wolf says it's essential for as many people as possible to participate in the results to be useful.
He says: “If you want to have a good understanding of what’s going on in a population, we really need at least 10 percent of the people there to be sharing this information.”
“By getting their up to date, very cheap results of whether they've had the virus or not, we can link that to all their previous data we've been collecting for 25 years,” Spector said.
The software from the tracking project will be shared without costs to other nations beyond the US and Britain.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.
The virus has caused a global pandemic that has sickened at least nearly over 490,000 and killed over 22,000 worldwide.
It has crippled economies and forced restrictions on the movement of millions of people in an effort to stop the virus from spreading further and overwhelming health care systems.