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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Oura

Oura's smart ring could help detect COVID-19 infections before noticeable symptoms show up — and earlier than other methods — thanks to its ability to continuously monitor body temperature, according to a University of California, San Francisco study.

Why it matters: Earlier detection, especially of those without symptoms, could spur people who may be infected to get tested and self-isolate, crucial steps in slowing the coronavirus' spread as the pandemic worsens in the U.S.

Between the lines: Because the smart ring continuously monitors vitals, researchers found, it can spot when someone's temperature is running higher than the normal range of fluctuations around their personal baseline, even if they're not running an objectively high fever.

Driving the news: An analysis of data from 50 COVID-19 infected patients that were part of a larger UCSF study is being published today in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

  • Of the 50, 38 reported a fever, and showed an elevated temperature in their smart ring data.

What they're saying: Ashley Mason, principal investigator for the project, said the study showed that those who later tested positive for COVID-19 often showed a "mini-storm" of physiological changes before a bigger, more easily detectable set of symptoms.

What's next: The researchers are looking to test an algorithm that could prompt wearers to get a COVID-19 test when data that the ring collects, including temperature, suggest a possible infection.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.

Updated 17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases aren't budging — even after vaccinations doubled— Health care workers feel stress, burnout more than a year into the pandemic — Handful of "breakthrough" COVID cases occurred in nursing homes, CDC says.
  2. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson's vaccine production problems look even bigger — All U.S. adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine.
  3. Political: Watchdog says agency infighting increased health and safety risks at start of pandemic.
  4. World: EU regulator: Benefits of J&J vaccine outweigh risk of rare blood clots.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

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