Rapid implementation of mobile technology for real-time epidemiology of COVID-19

Science. 2020 Jun 19;368(6497):1362-1367. doi: 10.1126/science.abc0473. Epub 2020 May 5.


The rapid pace of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) presents challenges to the robust collection of population-scale data to address this global health crisis. We established the COronavirus Pandemic Epidemiology (COPE) Consortium to unite scientists with expertise in big data research and epidemiology to develop the COVID Symptom Study, previously known as the COVID Symptom Tracker, mobile application. This application-which offers data on risk factors, predictive symptoms, clinical outcomes, and geographical hotspots-was launched in the United Kingdom on 24 March 2020 and the United States on 29 March 2020 and has garnered more than 2.8 million users as of 2 May 2020. Our initiative offers a proof of concept for the repurposing of existing approaches to enable rapidly scalable epidemiologic data collection and analysis, which is critical for a data-driven response to this public health challenge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • Big Data
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Data Collection / instrumentation
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United Kingdom
  • United States