The Right Kind Of COVID-19 Related Data Can Save Lives
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When we heard of the Sprint COVID-19 task force – it was clearly something we could help with. How? This is where our data collection expertise comes into action.
Sprint COVID-19, a task force led by the Innovation Department at Assuta Hospital in Israel, together with Rafael Advanced Technology and Weizmann Institute of Science, has decided to tackle this matter head-on. They are working on developing a heuristic test to identify asymptomatic, presymptomatic and mild cases which would otherwise go undetected. After thorough research, it was found that close to 60% of coronavirus cases had low oxygen levels in their blood (under 90%) – a strong indicator for segregating possible carriers of coronavirus from the healthy population.
According to recent studies conducted both in China and Italy, 40-60% of the COVID-19 carriers suffered from asymptomatic symptoms, low levels of oxygen in their blood – without even knowing it. Unaware they were infecting others; these carriers could have easily received early indications by checking the levels of oxygen in their blood. A test that each and every one of us can independently conduct.
Quoting the head of this innovative research, Myriam Bocobza:
A large percentage of the coronavirus infected population may suffer from silent hypoxemia, i.e. hypoxemia without dyspnea. Based on information gathered in Italy, we can now estimate that 30%- 50% of the positive coronavirus carriers did not feel any symptoms, so they kept wandering around infecting more people. We found out that many smartphones and smartwatch devices enable the ability to test your own blood oxygen levels
So. This is where we, Bright Data (Formerly Luminati Networks), came in. Sprint COVID-19 was seeking to identify every possible device able to conduct this simple test. Meaning every device that carries the Sp02 sensor. To locate these devices, you needed to tackle a huge amount of openly available data sources.
Aware of the huge urgency, Josh Vanderwillik, the chief engineer in charge of Bright Data’s Data Collection Automation products, started by identifying the websites and applications carrying this information.
Once identified, Josh put Bright Data’s Data Collection Automation into action. He and his team wrote the code to extract the required data which involved all the model numbers of all devices, mobiles, smartwatches, and wristbands able to conduct the oxygen measuring test.
When asked about the process by the researchers, Josh Vanderwillik explained:
I simply defined the list of pages that can reach the required content and our platform quickly fetched it for us. We processed over 2.4G of data and 8000 items to reach the needed results in just a few hours
Josh also added that had we not used our data collection automation system – this would take three times longer. The platform did not only save time but reached high-quality results and took care of the data validation, QA and parsing process, making it easier for the hectically busy research team to get ready-to-use data, at the speed needed. In a world where COVID-19 changes by the minute and every minute counts in saving lives – time was of the utmost essence!!
As the CEO of a data collection domain company – it is important to all of us to do whatever it takes to help in combating COVID-19! Everyone these days relies on data. We aim to serve and help all organizations reach the most accurate data quickly – by collecting public data in an ethical manner.
We continue to offer a free solution for all relevant researchers, from all over the world, our expertise in collecting openly available online data. We want to help in any way we can.
Back to Myriam Bocobza, who explains the necessity of the results:
Had the infected population been tested for blood oxygen levels, a lot of the contagion could have been prevented. The simple truth is that checking for fever before entering the shopping mall is just not enough. Oxygen levels in the blood need to be tested as an early indication.
In order to provide a solution, Sprint COVID-19 needed to know if it was feasible to have a large portion of the population checking their own oxygen blood levels daily and independently using their smartphones or smartwatches. The answer to that is yes.
For example, in Israel alone 13% of mobile users own a Samsung model able to test oxygen levels in the blood. We also gathered information across the globe and found that up to 17% of the world smartphone owners own devices that carry the Sp02 sensor, which can enable the test as well, covering nearly 19% of the US population, 18% of the UK population and up to 12% of Italy’s. I hope they help in stopping the COVID-19 pandemic progress.
The COVID-19 task force plans to make the list of devices available to the entire Israeli public and then across the world to help identify COVID-19 cases early.
All of us at Bright Data want to help everyone with combating COVID-19. Whether it’s researchers, hospitals, biologists, universities etc. – we offer our fast-performing platform and services for free – aiming for one single goal – bringing us closer to the end of this worldwide crisis.