NZ developed personal Covid-19 early warning app

A New Zealand developed app has been developed that works with many available wearable devices (like fitbit) to provide an early warning if someone develops early symptoms of Covid-19.

Called ëlarm, it overcomes one of the greatest obstacles to protecting our communities from the Covid-19 virus – that it’s spread by people who don’t know they’re infected.

‘With ëlarm, you can know you’re sick before you feel sick,’ says app developer Paul O’Connor of the data analytics company Datamine.

It’s model is clinically developed  and calibrated for Covid-19 symptom. There’s a chance it will detect symptoms of other illnesses similar to Covid but allows action to be taken to confirm this.

This can allow for isolation and treatment before Covid is spread to other people. It is targeted particularly at vulnerable people or people living close to vulnerable people.


ëlarm is an early warning indicator for COVID-19 and other infectious viruses. It monitors the changes in your body that happen two or three days before you are aware of any symptoms – so you can keep yourself and the people around you safe during COVID-19 and beyond.

It’s designed for anyone with a wearable device. ëlarm is compatible with multiple brands of wearable devices.

If you get sick, ëlarm aims to let you know early and give you more time to act.

Peronsalised app

Available worldwide it costs $US4.50 a month (currently one month free to try it).

Datamine worked with medical specialists in New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, Europe and the USA, to build robust models that analyse a person’s health data to detect hidden symptoms of the virus – the biometric changes that occur as the body begins fighting the virus, such as heartrate, heartrate variability and skin temperature.

‘Research shows that wearables are able to predict Covid-19 up to three days before a person develops noticeable symptoms such as fever, fatigue and breathing difficulties – with over 90% accuracy,’ says Mr O’Connor.

‘ëlarm will be of particular benefit to the vulnerable people in our communities, to front-line healthcare workers, and also to businesses desperately trying to operate safely in this difficult environment,’ he says.

Collaborating with clinicians here and overseas, over the past three months a Datamine team of data engineers, analysts and software developers built a prototype.

Professor Michael Baker, one of New Zealand’s leading epidemiologists, while not involved in developing the app, is intrigued by the potential of this technology, noting this is just the first step:

“I think it’s very encouraging that New Zealand is producing exciting innovations in the area of new surveillance tools for tracking people who are potentially infected by Covid-19 and other infectious agents. There are many potentially useful applications for this technology. More field testing is obviously needed with this tool to assess its effectiveness and ensure it is applied to the most pressing and relevant problems.”

If ëlarm proves to be effective it could provide a simple way to detect Covid and other infections early. That improves medical outcomes by treating people before it causes more problems – Covid can affect a numb er of organs including lungs and the heart, and would help limit the spread of the virus.

It’s overall effectiveness will depend on how many people use it, but it could give some peace of mild and protection to more vulnerable people.

The value of wearable devices in tracking health information is widely acknowledged. Other teams around the world have been working to find a way of using them in the fight against Covid-19. Some wearable companies are developing apps that work within their own platform. But no other team has developed an app that can successfully detect indicative symptoms, and that works across multiple wearable devices.

ëlarm is available to anyone, anywhere, who owns or purchases a supported wearable device.

ëlarm is an agnostic app, compatible with multiple brands of readily available wearable devices such as Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, Oura, Garmin, Huawei, Samsung, and can interface with Google Fit.

For the past two years, Datamine has worked with health business clients to develop a health platform, part of which is a ‘health vault’ – a place where people can safely store their personal health data. During that time, the company also worked with wearables data, storing that data and analysing the data streams.

The app is available anywhere in the world and can be purchased through the website:

Note: I know someone involved with ëlarm and was emailed a media release on this app. It is the first time i have heard of it. I checked the website, and thought it looked like a worthwhile New Zealand product to be publicised. As with all posts on Your NZ it is not paid for, and I have no financial or other interest in ëlarm.


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  1. ODT/NZ Herald: Covid-19 detecting app a ‘game changer’

    A new “game changing” app released worldwide today aims to detect whether someone has Covid-19 before they develop symptoms.
    The app – dubbed ëlarm – has been created in New Zealand and Act leader David Seymour plans to push for Government support in Parliament next week.

    “It’s an absolute game-changer and totally unexpected. This is something the Government should have been supporting since day one.”

    • Gezza

       /  5th June 2020

      Ashley Bloomfield, director-general of health, said he wasn’t aware of the app nor has the ministry been approached about it, however, as with other new tech solutions, they’d been engaging with companies creating solutions for Covid-19 and would continue to do this.

      “We have confidence in the NZ Covid Tracer app to help us in the fight against Covid-19.”

      Wondered initially why they didn’t approach the Ministry of Health, but I bet they were concerned once the bureaucrats go wind of it they could hold everything up; better to work it right thru to market without that ball & chain?

      A lot of the elderly high risk folk aren’t likely to be using compatible wearable devices.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  5th June 2020

    How on earth can you try it without catching the virus??

  3. Pink David

     /  5th June 2020

    The end for Covid

    “Karl Friston: up to 80% not even susceptible to Covid-19”


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