NUI Galway has collaborated with the University of Limerick and Orreco on a new software package to track the spread of Covid-19 symptoms in Ireland. www.mycovidsymptoms.ie 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. 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.

The 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 the University of Limerick to help prevent and mitigate future pandemics.

Prof Derek O’Keeffe, Consultant Physician at University Hospital Galway and Professor of Medical Device Technology at NUI Galway, is leading the research. Prof O’Keeffe developed the innovative software solution with the INSIGHT SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics (Dr Andrew Simpkin, Mr Marc Mellotte, Mr Carlos Tighe) and collaborators Dr Kevin Johnson, University of Limerick, and Mr Gearóid Hynes, Mr Conor Maguire and Mr Kevin McGinley of Orreco, with graphic design by Mr Eamon Whyte.

Prof O’Keeffe said: “To defeat your enemy, you must know where it is and the data from MyCovidSymptoms.ie 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, US, 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.”

Dr Simpkin said: “MyCovidSymptoms.ie 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.”

For more information visit www.mycovidsymptoms.ie.