Startup develops app that detects COVID-19, captures vital stats via sensors

Updated: Jul 29, 2020, 08:52 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Bengaluru

The smartphone app use body signals captured through sensors that are analysed to detect one's proneness to COVID-19

This picture has been used for representational purposes
This picture has been used for representational purposes

A government-backed IT company in Bengaluru has built an application that has the capability of capturing one’s health statistics through a smart-phone through which it can determine one’s proneness to contracting COVID-19, Hindustan Times reported. According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, this ability of the application, to medically screen an individual, can play a big role in detecting the illness earlier and risk assessment of an infected population.

The application, named Lyfas, has been developed by Acculi Labs, a startup based in Bengaluru, in association with the Central government’s CAWACH (Centre for Augmenting WAR with Covid-19 Health Crisis) initiative. The Department of the Science and Technology (DST) under the ministry has given the application Rs 30 lakh-grant. Lyfas also has the virtual support of IIT Madras, Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre (HTIC), and MedTech Incubator.

According to the report, the application creates an individual’s Lyfas COVID score, a profile that assesses a person’s risk of contracting the illness. While AarogyaSetu app helps in contact tracing and requires one to feed one’s symptoms, Lyfas screens patients to detect the possibility of the COVID-19 and provides results in five minutes, a statement from the Ministry of Science and Technology read.

The app acts as a clinical-grade, non-invasive, digital functional biomarker tool that can be used for screening of chronic diseases, its early detection, analysing its root cause, risk assessment, prognosis, and monitoring.

“Lyfas is an Android application in which, when one keeps the index finger on the rear camera of a mobile phone for 5 minutes, captures the capillary pulse and blood volume change and derives 95 biomarkers with proprietary algorithms and signal processing techniques. It uses the power of smartphone processors and smartphone sensors to capture a bunch of body signals,” the statement from the ministry further read.

The signals are captured and processed through Photoplethysmography (PPG), Photo Chromatography (PCG), Arterial Photoplethysmography (APPG), mobile spirometry, and Pulse Rate Variability (PRV).

The statement reads that the application provides “cardio-respiratory, cardio-vascular, haematology, hemorheology, neurology based parameters” that has the potential of tracking minute pathophysiological changes that take place in the body, that are further described as ‘organ system-wide response’.

The statement also quoted a  study conducted by the Medanta Medicity Hospital, that shows that the application is 92 per cent accurate and sensitive. The application can be useful for conducting population screening, keeping a check on the community spreading phase, and monitoring individuals placed under quarantine.

“Witnessing the success of the study, the Medanta ethics committee has approved it for a larger population study. This study is currently registered in Clinical Trials Registry- India (CTRI) and is acknowledged by the World Health Organisation (WHO),” the statement added.

The report further said that the clinical trials and regulatory proceedings for Lyfas COVID Score are expected to be completed by September end, after which the facility will be available to the public.

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