Researchers from Imperial College London have joined forces with global self-care app and website Your.MD to map the spread of coronavirus with the launch of the Your.MD Covid-19 Symptom Mapper which compares, analyses and maps reported symptoms worldwide to help produce a set of global norms.

The mapper has had nearly 140,000 respondents from 181 countries worldwide. It works by pulling together data from people experiencing Covid-19-type symptoms around the world to allow them to compare themselves, their illness and their symptoms with others of the same gender or in a similar area or age bracket.

Your.MD is sharing the anonymised symptom data with Imperial to help Imperial’s research team map the pandemic and better understand how the disease is affecting people around the world. The cross-disciplinary collaboration is led by Aldo Faisal, director of the Centre in AI for Healthcare, and Dr Ceire Costelloe, Dr Austen El-Osta and Mansour Taghavi Azar Sharabiani from the School of Public Health, all at Imperial.

The aim is to collect self-reported population data from people who have either already tested positive for Covid-19, or believe they have symptoms of the virus but have not been tested.

Your.MD and the Imperial team hope to collect enough data from each country to help researchers better understand how the virus affects people who have not been admitted to hospital.

Faisal said of the mapper: “Covid has rapidly accelerated and transformed the way we are thinking and doing digital healthcare and the Your.MD COVID-19 Symptom Mapper is one of the many ways we are doing so.”

Professor Maureen Baker, Your.MD’s chief medical officer, added: “The data from the Your.MD’s Covid-19 Symptom Mapper tracks symptoms globally, giving a unique perspective on the virus and allowing comparisons to be made between the UK and other countries. It is vitally important for us to continue collecting data on symptoms of Covid-19, particularly as there are so many unknowns about the clinical course of this illness.” 

The mapper will gather valuable data on COVID-19 which will also be shared with national governments to help map the outbreak.

The new tool can help users assess whether they have mild, moderate or severe symptoms and to understand how their symptoms compare with other people around the world.

As more people use the tool, the information gathered will be used to make detailed comparisons about how Covid-19 is affecting different countries and communities.

The Mapper asks users to input details including when they first experienced symptoms, and score the severity of a range of symptoms associated with C-19. The Mapper is free and can be used on iOS and Android phones.

Date published: July 23, 2020

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