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Coronavirus in West Virginia: WV doctors develop ‘digital PPE’ to keep those on the frontlines safe

Coronavirus in West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, WV (WOWK) – A team of West Virginia university doctors and neuroscientists have developed a new early detection device to help aid in the battle against the coronavirus.

From a quick glance this ring looks like a standard wedding band. Although its use is anything but ordinary. It’s an artificial intelligence-driven predictive model, wearable ring technology and a mobile app. When combined all together, it’s a potentially lifesaving too that may identify a COVID-19 diagnosis before someone even begins to show symptoms.

“Using the ring and the app, we are able to tap into the human operating system,” says Dr. Ali Rezai, MD, Executive Chair of the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute.

“You know, COVID has changed all of our lives and it is going to keep rearing it’s ugly head until we develop a vaccine it will keep doing that,” Rezai says.

Dr. Rezai and a team of WVU neuroscientists have been studying these rings on more than 30,000 patients for the last two years. Initially, they were used to detect symptoms of seasonal flu, while helping people deal with everything from pain management to Alzheimer’s.

“So we need to develop technology to understand how the human body is being impacted by the virus and by tapping into the human operating system we’re able to detect it earlier on. We quickly adapted.”

Now the technology has been deployed to physicians, nurses and other front line employees fighting this pandemic across the country in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and Tennessee.

“We’re deploying this technology of the ring and the app on a large number of individuals across all walks of life who potentially are positive for the coronavirus but aren’t exhibiting any systems,” Zezai says.

The ring sensors monitor a person’s temperature, heart rate and nervous system, as well as psychological and behavioral factors.

“Your daily cycles, your biological cycles are affected days in advance before you actually exhibit symptoms,” Zezai says.

Dr. Rezai says the response has been very positive. They are hoping to have more rings for more front line employees in the next few weeks.

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