Cape Town - LifeQ, the world-leading independent provider of wearable-derived health information, has on Wednesday announced that the South African operations of cybersecurity company ESET is the first customer for its COVID-19 early warning and disease tracking solution.
Unlike periodic testing, LifeQ's continuous monitoring solution can provide an early warning of physiological changes even before employees display symptoms.
After extensive lockdowns worldwide in response to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, countries and businesses have to find new ways to deal with the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic as part of a much-needed drive to “get back to business”.
New studies are released almost daily that outline the debilitating longer term impact, even on younger people that have recovered, as well as the lasting cardiovascular effects and persistent symptoms after acute COVID-19. Furthermore, although a first tier of vaccines is expected to be available towards the end of 2020, many questions remain about vaccine safety after fast-tracked trials and globally significant portions of the public have already indicated a reluctance towards early adoption of vaccines. It is becoming clear that COVID-19 is to remain a challenging factor for many years to come, and not just for the elderly or vulnerable.
“Beyond the longer term promise of vaccines, a growing range of measures are being adopted to adjust to a new normal, including point of care testing, temperature screening, wearing of masks, social distancing, sterilisation of surfaces, PPE, and symptom reporting,” says Laurie Olivier, CEO of LifeQ. “However, while having some prevention benefits, none of these measures are as adequate as an early warning system of infections to prevent the spread among co-workers at offices, in manufacturing plants and on construction sites.”
He continues: “Businesses and manufacturing operations that cannot function effectively on a remote basis have to go out of their way to safeguard their employees. In the US, class action lawsuits have already been launched against businesses, requiring them to demonstrate that they have taken every possible means of precaution. Some entities have been holding out in the hope that the COVID-19 threat will disappear, or that a super vaccine will become available to decisively terminate the pandemic. Progressive organisations are coming to the conclusion that the challenge will not evaporate overnight, and it is best to adopt new technologies that could help deal with the anxieties of employees who would like or may need to return to the office, but are rightfully scared of being infected by their colleagues.”
LifeQ is recognised by leading Global Fortune 100 companies as having the widest and most accurate range of wearable-derived biometrics and health information. Before the emergence of COVID-19, acute disease onset detection was already firmly a part of LifeQ’s development plans. The company offers a finely tuned individualised anomaly detector that leverages a range of continuous physiological streams to enable the early identification of the onset of various acute diseases like COVID-19 and then further track disease progression to help triage for clinical intervention. As part of its tailored COVID-19 solution, LifeQ harnesses current technology embedded in its health risk calculations used by VeoSens, its life insurance focussed solution to determine the risk for individuals suffering complications as a result of COVID-19.
The LifeQ solution serves as a screening tool that recommends to an individual to take a COVID-19 test if no other explanation for anomalies can be found. LifeQ first released an early version of the product that is geared to help companies get back to business, while continuing to broaden the scope and efficacy of the offering with the inclusion of additional physiological streams generated by a variety of LifeQ-enabled wearables.
A range of wearable companies are involved in studies to validate the application of their own products for pre-symptomatic screening. The challenge wearable devices face is the ability to comprehensively monitor the wide range of physiological parameters needed, as it is abundantly clear that the impact of COVID-19 varies distinctly from human-to-human. “No single measure like breathing rate or resting heart rate is sufficient as an effective universal screening mechanism. Also, while having suitable outputs for consumer use, we are not aware of non-LifeQ enabled wearables with the accuracy and range of biometrics required to minimise false positives and negatives in order to be an effective early warning system for COVID-19,” shares Franco du Preez, PhD, LifeQ’s Chief Scientist.
“We owe it to our employees and our country to implement solutions towards getting back to business while safeguarding our employees. ESET Southern Africa proudly leads the way in South Africa by adopting a world class solution by LifeQ. This also shows the great potential of our country as an innovation hub with the Stellenbosch-based complement of LifeQ playing a crucial role in getting this solution prepared for the global market,” concludes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET Southern Africa.