The U.S. Army is working with Fitbit on wearable technology that has pre-symptom COVID-19 diagnostic capability, the company said.

“The award is part of MTEC’s [Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium] efforts to help keep military personnel healthy and fully operational,” Fitbit said in a press release. “Because carriers of COVID-19 can be contagious without symptoms, detecting the virus before symptoms emerge is key to slowing its spread.”

The award to develop the technology will be $2.5 million from the Department of Defense, and stems from a Request for Project Proposals back in May of this year to develop such wearable technology.

“The pandemic COVID-19, a disease caused by a novel coronavirus, continues to spread worldwide,” the May Request for Project Proposals said. “There is a dire and urgent need for development of rapid, accurate wearable diagnostics to identify and isolate pre-symptomatic COVID-19 cases and track/prevent the spread of the virus.”

That proposal requested that the devices be designed for pre-detection and early detection of COVID-19 symptoms, be minimally invasive while wearing, and designed for continuous physiological monitoring.

According to Fitbit, the company is also working on a prospective study with Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research to help expedite the development and validation of the Fitbit algorithm to detect COVID-19.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.