Bluetooth Technology, the Best Ally to Detect COVID-19 Cases through Smartphone Contact Tracing

"Tracers have been and are essential to manage the pandemic. Today, the tracing is done by hand and this work is slow and inaccurate. However, as we have seen, technology can be highly useful: contact tracing with smartphones and smartclocks help find out who has been in contact with an infected person, thanks to the use of localization and communication technologies, such as GPS, cell phone networks, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth," explains Enrique Hernández Orallo, researcher at the Networking Research Group-DISCA of the Universitat Politècnica de València.

In their study, UPV researchers assessed the effectiveness of each one of these technologies. In order to do that, they designed an epidemiological mathematical model which allowed them to study its efficiency and impact--in terms of number of persons that must enter in self-quarantine from the results obtained. "Bluetooth is the most suitable technology because it allows tracers to detect contacts within a range of 2-3 meters. Those contacts are considered by epidemiological models as a contact capable of passing the infection. Therefore, it helps to reduce the number of false contacts, and also allows them to be more efficient when establishing which people must self-quarantine," explains Enrique Hernández Orallo.

"Extremely useful" in a possible new outbreak

Since the infection rate of COVID is extremely high, the contact tracing technology must be accurate and perform a quick search. However, in order to do it more effectively, a significant percentage of the population must install the contact tracing application on their smart devices.

"These strict requirements make contact tracing based on smartphones quite inefficient to contain the infection propagation during the first outbreak of the virus. However, in the case of a new outbreak of the pandemic, with a percentage of the population immune, or in combination with other less strict measures that reduce the spread of the virus (such as social distancing), contact tracing based on smartphones could be extremely useful, even if only a part of the population--less than 60%--would be willing to use it. In any case, Bluetooth will be the most suitable tool to do the tracing," concludes Enrique Hernández-Orallo.

E Hernández-Orallo, P Manzoni, CT Calafate, J Cano.
Evaluating How Smartphone Contact Tracing Technology Can Reduce the Spread of Infectious Diseases: The Case of COVID-19.
IEEE Access, vol. 8, pp. 99083-99097, 2020. doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.2998042.

Most Popular Now

Early Results from DETECT Study Suggest …

Examining data from the first six weeks of their landmark DETECT study, a team of scientists from the Scripps Research Translational Institute sees encouraging signs that wearable fitness devices can...

Healthcare App Reduces Symptoms of COPD …

COPD is a common respiratory condition and one of the top causes of hospital admissions each year, particularly during winter months. In the UK it accounts for over 140,000 hospital...

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS T…

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has deployed DXC Technology's (NYSE:DXC) cloud-based Clinical Aide mobile application, which both improves secure access to electronic patient medical records and increases patient and...

Ultrapotent COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate D…

An innovative nanoparticle vaccine candidate for the pandemic coronavirus produces virus-neutralizing antibodies in mice at levels ten-times greater than is seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19 infections. Designed...

Central Hospital in Finland Automates Sy…

This November Central Ostrobothnia Central Hospital in Finland has started symptom tracking and remote monitoring of corona virus-infected patients with the Buddy Healthcare mobile application and clinical monitoring platform. The...

Philips Empowers Medical Image Access fo…

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, announced the completion of a regional informatics project that consolidates radiology and nuclear medicine imaging data. The Region...

Softphone App to Save NHS up to £20 Mill…

GPs and patients are to benefit from a new softphone app that will eliminate almost all the "hidden cost" of calls for remote consultations and is forecast to save the...

More than 1,000 Exhibitors have Already …

16 - 19 November 2020, Düsseldorf, Germany. This year, the world's largest and leading medical trade fair, MEDICA, and the number one international event for the medical technology manufacturing supplier market...

Interactive virtual reality emerges as a…

Bristol scientists have demonstrated a new virtual reality [VR] technique which should help in developing drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus - and enable researchers to share models and collaborate in...

App to Help NHS Prevent Deadly Hospital …

Compass app to help NHS trusts prevent hospital-acquired acute kidney injury and pneumonia - both of which cause harm to COVID-19 patients and can be fatal. Hospitals could alleviate pressure...